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VOLUME one: A - 1 /VW 11 




JEROME FRIED Associate Editor 



Melville J. Herskovits 
Alexander H. Krappe 
MacEdward Leach 
Erminie W. Voegelin 

cnpvRicHT, 3949, by 





This book is an experiment: an attempt to cut a cross section into the spiritual 
content of the world, an attempt to gather together in one place several thousand 
things heretofore scattered in learned journals, memoirs, monographs, manu- 
scripts, rare and out-of-print books, records transcribed by working anthropologists 
and folklorists in the field,— and in people’s heads. Completeness was an end 
never contemplated. Sir George and Lady Alice Gomtne gave up their idea of 
compiling a folklore dictionary when, at the end of four years, they had filled 
two large volumes with the children's games of two small islands in the world 
(Alice B. Gomme: Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland, London, 
189-1-98). A dictionary of pan-Germanic beliefs and customs, songs, talcs, proverbs, 
- riddles was 2S years in the making and runs to four volumes (H. F. Feilbcrg: 
Bidrag til cn Ordbog over Jyshc Almucstnal, Copenhagen, 1 886—19 1 -1); just the 
superstitions of Germany fill ten volumes (Hans Bachtold-Staubi and Eduard 
von HofTman-Krayer: Handwortcrbuch dcr dcutschcn Abcrglaubcns, Bcrlin- 
Leipzig, 1928). The archives of the nations contain folktales, songs, proverbs, 
riddles that would mount into millions if all totals were added. Completeness 
’can never be an end until there comes an end to spontaneous song and creative 
symbol, or an end to the grim or humorous “saw" with which the human mind 
meets its situation. 

Here are, however, gathered together a representative sampling of the gods 
. of the world, the folk heroes, culture heroes, tricksters, and numskulls, . . . 
of the folklore of animals, birds, plants, insects, stones, gems, minerals, stars, . . , 
dances, ballads, folk songs, . . . festivals and rituals, . , . food customs and 
their significances, . . . games and children's rimes, riddles, tongue twisters, . . . 
diviners and "lookmcn," witches, witchcraft, omens, magic charms and spells, . . . 
supernatural impregnations, . . . and the supernatural beings of folk belief and 
story, such as demons, ogres, fairies, and "little people,” guardian spirits, were- 
wolves, vampires, zombies. Here are folktales— and motifs out of folktale, ballad, 
and song. Here are the kings asleep in the mountain, the belief in the hero, or 
savior, who will come again, and some hundred other instances of the inex- 
tinguishable hope that all that is wrong in the world can somehow be put right, 
and the ways (magic, prayer, or song) in which men try to put tilings right. In 
addition are the general covering regional articles and articles on specific folk- 
lore subjects (ballad, dance, riddles, etc.) by specialists in those respective fields. 

The book is called a dictionary, in that, as stated above, it can not be exhaustive, 
and in that it deals with the terminology of a special branch of knowledge. 

Many things are included because of their great diffusion, known importance, 
or fame, others for their uniqueness or obscurity. Often what looks like a nonce 
occurrence of a motif or practice turns out to be a clue to something huge or 
widespread but hitherto ungucsscd, or a touchstone to the philosophy of a culture. 

The book belongs to no “school” of folklore, adheres to no “method,” advo- 
cates no "theory.” It has tried to represent all schools, all methods, all theories, 
and to state their findings and dilemmas. Each contributor has been free to hold 
to his own convictions, enthusiasms, and skepticisms. All is valid that represents 
the state and scope of the folklore field today. The twenty-odd definitions entered 
under folklore in the book represent the varying and controversial points of 
view of modern folklore scholarship. 




The material is not divided into rigid percentages. Out of the many cultures 
touched upon, Greek and Roman myth and religion have probably been more 
sparingly treated than any other, because these are the best known, and most 
voluminously written. Those parts of Greek and Roman culture most inextricably 
involved in other folklores, however, have been treated with especial care (e.g. 
Cronus the swallower, the wonder-working Twins, Hercules the strong man, 
Perseus the dragon slayer). American Indian and Negro (Old and New World) 
have received somewhat fuller representation because of the new materials which 
keep piling up and pouring in, and because of the growing wave of interest in 
these peoples. 

Statements of location throughout the book, such as those placing a belief 
in West Africa, a tale in central Europe, a practice among the Eskimo, etc., 
do not mean that all the people so named throughout the region are involved, 
but that the term is used among and by some of the people named, not necessarily 
a majority, and within the region named. Hoodoo hand is not a term common to 
all "southern United States Negroes,” for instance, but since the term is used by 
southern United States Negroes it must be thus identified and located. 

In the case of transliteration from non-Roman alphabets, the book has accepted 
the systems of its contributing specialists. Spellings of Hindu names follow those 
adopted in the Penzer-Tawney Ocean of Story. Irish spellings, for the most part 
throughout the book, follow the Irish system of showing aspiration of a consonant 
by the superior dot, rather than by adding li to the aspirated consonant (formerly 
a more common transliteration). In regard to the names from Greek mythology, 
however, the familiar spelling has been given preference, with the idea that such 
choice will not confuse the scholar, whereas such transliterations as Iachkos 
(instead of the more widely used Iacchus) would not be as acceptable to the gen- 
eral reader. The same preference has been followed with many words from Egyptian 
and the Semitic languages. 

Many things which now seem hidden to the casual reader will be made plain 
in the index. Only the initiate familiar with accepted motif phraseology will 
think of looking in alphabetical place for such terms as absurdity rebukes 
absurdity, catching a man’s breath, holding down the hat, stolen goods sold to 
owner, etc., etc. These “handles,” familiar to the folktale scholar, are numbered 
according to the well-known system of Stith Thompson’s Motif-Index of Folk- 
Literature. All these, and a number of other possible seeming obscurities, will be 
indexed and classified. 

The editor wants to express the deepest gratitude to the four consultants in 
this work and to all the contributors. Everybody who has been asked to help has 
gone the second mile with enthusiasm and generosity. Above all I am indebted 
to my associate editor, Jerome Fried, for advice and knowledge, unfailing sup- 
port, and persevering work. 

September, 1949 Maria Leach 


Balvs, Jonas (1903- ) [jb] 

Lithuanian folklorist and ethnologist. Universities of Kaunas, 
Lithuania, and Graz and Vienna, Austria. Leader of newly 
founded Lithuanian Folklore Archives, 1935; Dozent of Folk* 
lore. University of Vilnius, Lithuania, 1942. Associate member, 
Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. 1941; later Director of the In- 
stitute of Ethnology at the Academy. Assistant for the Deutsches 
Volksliedarchiv (German Folksong Archives), Freiburg i. Br., 
1914-45; Associate Professor for Folklore and Ethnology, Baltic 
or Displaced Tenons University, Hamburg, Germany, 1946-47; 
since Oct. 1948, Instructor in the Eastern European Area, and 
Researches Assistant to the Dean of the Graduate School, 
Indiana University. Member, International Commission on 
Folk Arts and Folklore. Chief published works; Alotiu-Index o ] 
Lithuanian Narrative Folklore (1935); Donner und Teufel in 
den Volkserzalilungen der baltischen und skandinavischen 
Volker (1939); Lithuanian Folk Legends , Vol. I (1940); 
Hundcrt Folk Ballads (19-11); Lithuanian Folk Tales (1945); 
“Litauischc Hochzcitsbrnuchc,” Contributions of Baltic Uni- 
versity, No. 9 (1946); ‘’Litauischc Fastnachtsbrauche,” Schxvei * 
zerisches Archie fur Volkskunde, Bd. 45, pp. 40-69 (1948); 
Handbook of Lithuanian Folklore, 2 vols. (1948); “Die Sagen 
son den litauischen Fecn,” Die Nachbam, I (19-18). 

Barbeau, Marius [mb] 

Anthropologist and folklorist for Canadian government, Na- 
tional Museum of Canada, 1911- . Specialist in ethnology and 
history of Huron -Iroquois, and tribes of northern Rockies and 
Pacific Coast. Student of French and Indian lore of the fron- 
tiers, in connection with American Folklore Society, 1915. 
President, American Folklore Society, 1917; co-editor, Journal 
of American Folklore, since 1917. Pioneer in French folklore 
collection. At present holds professorships at both the universi- 
ties of Laval and Montreal. Bio-bibliography published by 
Clarisse Cardin (Archives de Folklore, II, 1947): 576 titles to 
end of 1946. Another 100 arc now to be added. Of this total, 

100 are of books and separates. 

Bascom, William R. (1912- ) [wrb] 

Anthropologist. B.A., University of Wisconsin, 1933; M.A., 
1936; Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1939. Field work; sum- 
mer 1935. among Kiowa Indians of Oklahoma; 1937-38, among 
Yoruba of Nigeria as Fellow of the Social Science Research 
Council of New York City; summer 1939, among New World 
Negroes in Georgia and South Carolina; 1942-45, three trips 
to West Africa as U.S. Government employee in Nigeria and 
the Gold Coast; 1946, Ponape, Eastern Caroline Islands; sum- 
mer 1948, Cuba, on grant from The Viking Fund. Assistant 
Professor in Anthropology, Northwestern University, 1946- . 
Publications; The Sociological Role of the Yoruba Cult Group, 
Memoir 63, American Anthropological Association; “West and 
Central Africa,” in Most of the IVor/d (edited by Ralph Lin- 
ton): "The Sanctions of Ifa Divination,” Journal of the Royal 
Anthropological Institute; “The Relationship of Yoruba Folk- 
lore lo Divining” and “Literary Style in Yoruba Riddles,” 
Journal of American Folklore; “The Principle of Seniority in 
the Social Structure of the Yoruba” and “West Africa and the 
Complexity of Primitive Culture,** American Anthropologist ; 
“Ponapean Prestige Economy/' Southwestern Journal of An- 
thropology, and other articles. 

Boc.cs, Ralhi Steele (1901- ) [rsb] 

Panamcrican and Spanish folklore scholar. Ph.B., University 
of Chicago, 1926; Ph.D., 1930. Instructor, University of Puerto 
Rico, 1926-2S; Professor of Spanish and Folklore, University of 
North Carolina, from 1929. Director, Folklore Americas, an 
association of folklorists of the New World; member of many 
organizations in the field. Bibliography: annual classified and 
commented Bibliography in the March number of Southern 
Folklore Quarterly; Index of Spanish Folktales (FFC #90, 
1930); Folklore, an Outline for Individual and Group Study 
(1929); Spanish Folktales (1932); Leyendas i picas de Espatia 
(1933); Three Golden Oranges and Other Spanish Folktales 
(1936); Outline History of Spanish Literature (1937); Bibli - 
ografta del folklore mexicano (1939); Bibliography of Latin 
American Folktore (1940); and many articles. Ready for pub- 
lication; a book on folklore and folklorists of the United States 
and a classification of folklore. 

Botkin, Benjamin Albert (1901- ) [bab] 

American folklorist. A.B., Harvard University, 1920; A.M., 


Columbia University, 1921; Ph.D., University of Nebraska, 
1931. University of Oklahoma faculty, 1921-40. Julius Roscn- 
wald Fellow’, 1937-38; resigned from University of Oklahoma 
to pursue government work, 1940. Folklore editor. Federal 
Writers* Project, 1938-39; chief editor. Writers' Unit, Library 
of Congress Project, 1940-41; Associate Fellow in folklore, 
Library of Congress, 1940-41; Fellow of Library of Congress 
In folklore since 1941. Chief, Archive of American Folk Song, 
Library of Congress, 1942-45; resigned to give full time to 
WTiting, 1945. President, Oklahoma Folklore Society, 1928-40; 
President, American Folklore Society, 1944. Co-founder and 
first chairman. Joint Committee on Folk Arts, WPA, 1938-39. 
Editor: Folk-Say, A Regional Miscellany, 4 vols. (1929-32); The 
Southwest Scene (1931); A Treasury of American Folklore 
(1944); Lay My Burden Down: A Folk History of Slavery 
(1945); Folk Music of the United States from Records in the 
Archive of American Folk Song, Albums VII-X (1945); A 
Treasury of New England Folklore (1947); A Treasury of 
Southern Folklore (1949). Author: The American Play-Party 
Song, with a Collection of Oklahoma Texts and Tunes (doc- 
toral dissertation. University Studies, University of Nebraska) 

Brakeley, Theresa C. [tcb] 

Writer and editor. B.A., Radcliffe College, 1934. Formerly 
member of editorial staff, Funk & Wagnalls Company. Writer 
and editor in book, magazine, advertising fields. Member, 
American Folklore Society. 

Espinosa, Aureuo Macedonio (1880- ) [ame] 

American Spanish dialcctologist and folklorist. B.A., University 
of Colorado, 1902: M.A., 1904; Ph.D., University of Chicago, 
1909. Professor of Modem Languages, University of New Mex- 
ico, 1902-10. From 1910, Assistant Professor, Associate Profes- 
sor, and Professor of Romanic Languages, Stanford Univer- 
sity; retired, 1947. Investigator and productive scholar in 
Spanish dialectology, folklore, and metrics; over 100 articles 
published in philological and folklore journals in Europe and 
America in these fields; in addition, eight volumes in Spanish 
dialectology, folklore, and literature. Among these: Estudios 
sobre el espanol de Nuevo Mijico, 2 vols. (1930, 1945); Cuentos 
populares espanoles, 5 vols. (1946-A7); Historia de la literatura 
espaiiola (1939). In 1920, collected folklore materials in Spain 
under auspices of American Folklore Society. Editor, Hispania, 
1917-26; Associate Editor, Journal of American Folklore, 1916- 
37, and Language, 1925-28. President, American Folklore Soci- 
ety, 1923, 1924. 1922, King Alfonso XIII conferred upon him 
the title of Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Isabel 
la Catolica; 1946, Spanish government conferred the title of 
Knight of the Grand Cross of Alfonso el Sabio. 

Foster, George M. (1913- ) [gmf] 

American anthropologist. B.S., Northwestern University, 1935; 
Ph.D., University of California, 1941, Joined Institute of Social 
Anthropology of the Smithsonian Institution, 1943; taught 
anthropology at the National School of Anthropology, Mexico 
City; took students into the field for ethnological studies, 
primarily among the Tarascan Indians of Michoacan and 
neighboring mestizo peoples. Director of the Institute of 
Social Anthropology, Washington, 1946. Research among the 
Yuki Indians of northern California (1938), Popoluca Indians 
of yera Cruz, Mexico (1940 and 1941). Articles on California 
Indians and folklore, Mexican and Latin American ethnology, 
linguistics, folklore, primitive economics, etc. Monographs: 
A Primitive Mexican Economy (1942); A Summary of Yuki 
Culture (1944); Sierra Popoluca Folklore and Beliefs (1944); 
Empire’s Children: The People of Tzintzuntzan (1948); Sierra 
Popoluca Speech (with Mary L. Foster, 1948). 

Funk, Charles Earle (1881- ) [cef! 

American lexicographer. B.S., University of Colorado, 1904. 
Co-editor, with Dr. Frank H. Vizetelly, New Comprehensive 
Standard Dictionary ; associate editor, New Standard Encyclo- 
pedia and New International Yearbooks , 1931-38. Editor-in- 
chief of the Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionaries and New 
International Year Books, 1938-47; produced Junior Standard 
Dictionary (1940); New Practical Standard Dictionary (1946). 
New College Standard Dictionary (1947). Honorary degree of 
Doctor of Letters, Wittenberg College, Springfield, Ohio, 1936. 
Author: What's the A r ame, Please (1936): 25-000 Words, Ac- 
cented, Spelled, and Divided (with L. A. Leslie. 1932); A Hog 



on Ice, and Other Curious Expressions (1918); varioui articles 
for magazine publication. 

Caster. Theodor II. (190C- ) i T,,r 'l 

M.A., UnhcBitvof London. 1930; Tb.D.. Columbia University, 
injo Professor of Comparative Religion and lolUorr. Ana 
Institute. New York; Visiting Professor of Comparative Reli- 
gion. Ilropsie College, Pl.iia.lelpl.ia: lecturer >" Semit e 
Civilizations. New York University. 1 ormerlv Cl. let. Hebraic 
Section, The Library of Congress. Washington. D.C.. Curator. 
Department of Semitic and Lgynttatr An.tquities I he « ell- 
cot te Museum. London. Hon. Lecturer In Old lestamrnt 
Archaeology. New College. Unlv ers ty of London. W37. Mem- 
ber of Council, Folk-Lore Society of Lngland. 193,yI3. Fellovv. 
Roval Asiatic Soeictv. Visiting rrofessor of Old Testament. 
University of Chicago. 1918. Author of numerous studies In 
religions and civilizations of the Ancient Near Last in-. Journal 
of the nose! ,-lstalie Society, Journal of the American Oriental 
Society; Journal of .Veer Eastern Similes; Folk-Lore; heliports; 
Jtevieu • of AVf.gmn; Journal of Tlihhcal Literature: Pofrstme 
Exploration Quarterly; Iraq; Areliiv Orientahu; Stud i e 
Material i di St one ilelle Religioni; Orienlaltn; Archw fuer 
Orientforschung; Jewish Quarterly Rei'tetv; expository T truer, 
etc. Prominent in the interpretation of the recently discovered 
Canaan! tc literature of Ras Shamra-Ugarif. Hi* nu^or work. 
Thespis: Ritual , Myth end Drama in the Ancient Sear Last, 
is to appear short!). 

Harmon, Mam in (190(5- ) 

Artist and editor. Il.A.. Wcslcvan College. 1920: M.A., Uni- 
versity of Chicago, 1927 Studied art with Chinese tutors and 
in Paris, and at the Art Students’ League of New York. Lived 
abroad, 192S-32. and observed at fust hand the folk art of a 
number of countries. During the following decade, became as- 
sociate editor. The New International Year Books and the 
Standard Dictionaries, writing on art and art terminology Pre- 
pared a standard textbook in the fine arts. The ,Y atural Do)' 
to Draw (1911). a posthumous resutnf of the teaching methods 
of Kimon Nicola ides. Particular!* interested in swn holism as a 
practicing artist: also active in graphic arts. Member, American 
Institute of Graphic Arts, 

Herskovits, Melville Jean (1893- ) (Mini 

Antliropologist. Ph.B., Oniserstty of Chicago, 1920; M.A., 
Columbia University, 1921; Ph.D.. 1923. Professor of Anthro- 
pology, Northwestern University, 1933- . Guggenheim Memo- 
rial icllow, 1937-38. field expeditions m Dutch Guiana, 
West Africa, Haiti, Trinidad, Brazil. Member and chairman 
of various committees on music and anthropology for the De- 
partment of State, National Research Council, American 
Council oF Learned Societies. Member, permanent council. In- 
ternational Anthropological Congress Officer of the Order of 
Honor and Merit. Haiti. Honorary Icllow, Roval Anthro- 
pological Institute; Fellow, American Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Science (vice president, section II. 1934). Society 
for Research in Child Development. Mcmlier, American An- 
thropological Association (councilor, president, central section. 
1939). American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Amer- 
ican Folklore Society (president, 1913). Socirti des Africarmtes 
dc Paris, International African Institute (member, governing 
body). International Institute for Afro-American Studies. 
Editor. American Anthropologist, 1919- Bibliography The 
American Negro— A Study in Racial Crossing (192*’). The An- 
thropometry of the American Negro (1930); Art Outline of 
Dahomean Religious Reliefs (with Frances S. Hrrskovits. 1933), 
Rebel Destiny, Among the Rush Segroes of Dutch Guiana 
(with F. S. llcrskovits. 1931); Suriname Folklore (with F. S. 
llcrskovits) xnlh transcription of Suriname Songs end Musieo- 
logical Analysis by Dr. M. Kolinski (1937); Dahomey, an 
Ancient HV/t African Kingdom, 2 vols. (1938); Amzlfunsfion 
(193S); The F.conomie I.tfe of Primitive Peoples (I910>. Fhe 
Myth of the Xcgro Past (1911); backgrounds of African Art 
(19IG); Trinidad Village (with F. S. llcrskovits, 1947); 
Man and flis Works (V91S); many articles in journals, reviews, 
collections, etc. 

Herzog, GroRr.r. (1901- ) [r.u] 

Primitive and folk music and folklore scholar. Hungarian 
Academy of Music. Budapest, 1917-19; !!odt«chule flier Musik. 
Berlin, 1920-22; University of Berlin, 1922-21: Columbia Uni- 
versitv, 1923-29; Ph.D., Columbia University. 1939. Assistant, 
Phonograph Archives, University of Berlin, 1922-21; Assistant 
Professor m Anthropology, 1932-33, Yale University, and 193G- 
48, Columbia University; Profc<sor of Anthropology, Indiana 
University*, 1C48- . In charge. 1930-31. Univcnitv of Cliicago 
expedition to Liberia; I93D, Columbia University field party 

for the study of Comanche language and culture. In charge 
1911-18. Archives of Primitive Music, Columbia University 
Sec Archivm or Folk and pKtwmvr Mrstc. Indiana Um\ ti! 
srrv. His field work Includes studies and surveys of South- 
western Indian music (1927), Dakota Indian poetry’ and mm! t 
(1928). Maine folk songs (1929). Navaho Indian poem and 
music (1929. 1931, 1932). Pima Indian poetry, language, and 
tmuic (1929. 1933. 193b), Eastern Liberian music, language 
poetry, and native cultures (1930-31). thr music of the Indfin 
tribes represented at the Chicago World’s Fair (1933), Co. 
manclir Indian language and music (1939). He has alto made 
various studies of American Indian. African, Micrcmeiian, 
Silx-rian music: Hungarian and Jugoslav folk music Jugoslav 
epic poetry; Jewish ritual music; American Indian poem; 
African drum-signalling. He hat collected and recorded sons* 
3.000 primitive and folk melodies. His bibliography, fn ad' 
ditfon to many articles in journals. Includes Jaho Proverbs 
from Liberia (with Charles G. Blooah. 1930); The Cow tat 
Switch and Other iVeU African Stories (with Harold Coup 
lander, 1917); transcriptions or melrxlirs in P. Barrv, V. Txl. 
storm. M. .Smith. Rritnh ballads from Maine (1929); *T)ie 
Musik auf Truk" in A. Kraemer, Truk (1933); "Die Mtnil 
dcr Karollnen-Inseln’* In A. F.ilen, IVesikarotinrn, vol. 2 
(1930): "Research in Primitive and Folk Music in the United 
.States— A Survey/' Rullettn ?4, American Council of learned 
Societies (1930). tran'friptlom of melodies in John A, and 
Alan Lomax. Krgm folk Songs as Sung by Lead Retly (193C); 
"A Comparison r>( Pueblo and Pima Musical Stylet,** JAFL 49; 
283-117; "F.tatf-Unis d’Amrriuue’* fn Folklore Musical— Mu- 
svjue el Chanmns Populates (193°); transcription and analysis 
of 'lurch* mime in t\ G. Speck, 7 he Tutelo Spirit Adoption 
Ceremony (1912). 

Jakomon, Svatava PJrkovA [srjj 

Slavic linguist and folklore sclmlar. Prague Classical Gym- 
nasium, fjolbgc d’AngouDtnc. I ranee; Pb.D.. Chatlrs Univer* 
«it\. Prague. 1933. Rnrjrcli Icllow, Social Institute of the 
Cits of Prague, I933-3V fieldwork in folklore, 1931-33, In 
Czechoslovakia, and 19! f »-37. in Bulgaria. Stud* trip to Poland 
(1930). Yugoslavia (1930). Rumania (1939), Hungary (1937). 
Contributor to thr folklore sections of Soefotnt Probl/my and 
Sociologies Revue. Produced, witn Prof. Ulehla, “The Vanish- 
ing World,'* 1932. an rthnogtanhk sound film devoted to 
Moravian popular traditions, exhibited l»oth In F.utoj* and 
America. .Studied Scandinavian literature and oral tradition 
and the organization of Scandinavian ethnographic mmeums, 
1939-41, ^ in Denmark. Norway, and Sweden. fkole IJbre des 
Hautrv Etudes. Nest York. 1942-4f>. teaching Czech language 
and literature Compiles! anthology of folk songs of the United 
Nations for thr State Department’s world broadcasts. 1943-41. 
Lecturer in Crrrii and MmaV language, literature, and oral 
tradition, Columbia University, . l-rtiureT td Slavic 

languages and Literatures (Oral and Written). Harvard Ur.!- 
versus. I&I'G . lectures! on Slavic folklore at Connecticut 
Aorfcmv. 19f*h American Folklore ln*ritute. Indiana Unim* 
sits. DM6; Amnion Folklore Soar t' , Chicago. 1919. Brooklyn 
College, lufp. Mrtnlwr, American folklore Society am! Edi- 
torial Committee for the Handlosl, nf this .Wins. After f» 
vrart of intensive fdil work in Orth and Slovak folklore in 
America, she establishes! an archive of American Slavic folklore, 
including mami'tript records. wire recordings. a collection of 
original handwritten am! printed song bonks. diaries, etc.; 
distributed a questionnaire among American immigrants and 
natives of Czech and Slovak background and pubtMicd ihr 
results Jn the .Vete Yonke J.uty, 1943-15; is completing a book 
about Czrrhodmak folklore In New York City and vicinity. 
Jamiaon, Ravmom* I)riov (1893*- ) (Knri 

Scholar of Chinese folklore. history, and literature. Studied 
and lectures! at Universities of Wiienniin. Chicago. MontpcI- 
her. llormre. Vienna, and I,ondm. 1915-23. Employed In 
sesrra! capacities by the Ministry of Education of the National 
Chi one Government. 1923-38. * Administrator of Consultant 
Services, Library of Congers*. Washington, DC. 1938-42. 
American National Red Ctrvs, Consulting Historian, 1912-48. 
Publications; Three J.eeiurrt on Chinese lolklore, 1932; other 
pub) i rations on social history, history of literature, etc. 

Jorrr. Nataiif I'. fvr |J 

Cultural amhropologhi. B.A., Barnard College. 1931; Ph.D.. 
Columbia University, 1940. Studied actuUuratSm among Fox 
Indians of Iowa. 1937; research on food habits of primitive 
peoples with V. Srefammn, 1938-41; with Committee on Fool 
Habits. National Research Council, 1912-4 4; researching food 
habits of selected groups in the United Slates, in connection 



with problems of wartime emergency feeding! also worked on 
group reactions to concentrated emergenq* foods. Prepared 
material on food habits of seven cultures and culture areas for 
Common Council for American Unity. Work on cultural back- 
grounds of female puberty for seven Western culture groups. 
1946; staff of Research in Contemporary Cultures, Columbia 
University, analyzing culture of East European Jews, 1947- . 
Author of articles and monographs on foods and food patterns 
in various magazines and journals. 

Krappe, Alexander Haggerty (IS94-1947) [ahk] 

International scholar, folklorist, and linguist. Early schooling 
in England, Holland, Germany; student of Romance languages 
and medieval history’. University of Berlin. A.M., University of 
Iowa. 1917; Ph.D., university of Chicago, 1919. Assistant Pro- 
fessor, University of Minnesota. 1924-28; Graduate Lecturer, 
Columbia University, 1926, 1928; private scholar, 1928-1947. 
Member: (British) Folk-Lore Society (1922), American Folklore 
Society (1912). Delegate, Folk-Lore Congress, London, 1928. 
Hon. Fellow, Amcrican-Scandinavian Foundation (1930). Cor- 
responding Member. Hispanic Society of America (1930); full 
Member (1934); awarded the Medal of Arts and Literature of 
the Society, 1915. Membre corrcspondant, Sociite dc Corre- 
spondancc Hispanique, Bordeaux (1940). Membre dc Tlnstitut 
dc Philologic et d’Histoirc Oricntales ct Slascs ct Professeur 
titulairc. University Libre dc Bruxelles (1944). His bibliog- 
raphy includes The Legend of Roderick (1923); Dalor with 
the Evil Eye (1927); Etudes dc mythologie et de folklore 
germaniques (1928); The Science of Folk-Lore (1930); Mylh- 
otogte universelle (1930); La Genise des Mythes (1938). Arti- 
cles and monographs have appeared in Folk-Lore, Modem 
Language Review, Romania , Revue Hispanique, Bulletin 
Hispanique, Revue Celtique, Revue Archtologique, Revue des 
Dudes anciennes, Revue des ttudes grecques, Le Moyen Age, 
Revue des Etudes slaves, Revue de r his to ire des religions, 
Afrreure de France, Nuovi Studi Medievali, Studi e Materiali 
di Soria delle Religioni, Lares, Rheinisches Museum f . Philo- 
logie. Arch tv f. d. Studium d. neueren Sprachen, Neuphilolo - 
gische Mitieilungen, Mitteilungen d. Schlesischen Gesellschaft 
(. Vo Iks hurt de, Neophilalogus, Journal of the American Orien- 
tal Society, Classical Philology, Speculum, Philological Quar- 
terly, California Folklore Quarterly, etc. 

Kurath, Gertrude Prokoscii (Tula) (1903- , [gpk] 
Dancer and folk dance scholar. B.A., Bryn Mawr College, 1922; 
M.A., 1928; Yale School of Drama, 1929-30. Professional dance 
training in several systems: Wigman, Humphrcy-Wcidman, 
Mcnscndicck, Dal croze, Shawn, Russian ballet, folk dance 
(particularly English and Morris dancing at Bryn Mawr). 
Special research in Medieval and Renaissance dance and music 
and American folk themes, 1932-46. Produced dance dramas 
to specially composed music: Hurricane, Francis of Assisi, The 
Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Marriage of the Moon ; research 
on American Indian dances for Marriage of the Moon, 1936, 
and continuously since 1912. Field work in Mexico, 1946; Sauk 
and Fox Indians, 1915, 1947; Iroquois Indians (Cayuga of Six 
Nations Reserve, Seneca of Allegany Reservation), 1948. Mem- 
ber, American Folklore Society (on Education Committee), 
American Anthropological Association, Archaeological Society 
of New Mexico. Treasurer, Michigan Folklore Society. Her 
bibliography includes numerous articles on dance theory and 
comparative study of the dance in journals and reviews. 

Leach, MacEdward [melI 

American ballad scholar and collector. B.A., University of 
Illinois, 1916; M.A., 1917; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 
1926. Associate Professor of English, University of Pennsyl- 
vania. Secretary-Treasurer since 1941 of American Folklore 
Society. Since 1918, Liaison Fellow, American Anthropological 
Association. Member, Medieval Academy of America; Council 
of Learned Societies. Publications: Amis and Amiloun, Early 
English Text Society (1937); articles in various journals. 

Loomis, Roger Sherman (1887- ) [rsl] 

Scholar in Celtic folklore and Arthurian romance. Williams 
College; Harvard University; B.Litt.. New College, Oxford. 
Since 1920, at Columbia University; Professor of English, 
1947- . Special interest in Celtic folklore and literature and 
their relation to Arthurian romance began in 1923; numerous 
articles in scholarly journals on the subject since then. Bibliog- 
raphy includes Celtic Myth and Arthurian Romance (1927); 
Thomas of Britain, The Romance of Tristram and Ysolt, re- 
vised edition (1931); Arthurian Legends in Medieval Art (with 
Laura Hibbard Loomis, 1938); Arthurian Tradition and 
Chritien de Troyes (1949). 

Luomala, Katharine [kl] 

Anthropologist. B.A., 1931; MA, 1933; Ph.D., 1936, Univer- 
sity of California. Study at Bernice P. Bishop Museum and 
field work among the Dicguefio, 1934; ethnographical summary 
of Navaho culture and history, 1936-37; research fellowship, 
American Association of University Women, for study of my- 
thology, 1937-38; Lecturer in Anthropology, University of 
California, and assistant to A. L. Krocbcr in research on art 
of North and South American Indians, 1941; Yale University 
Fellow, Bernice P. Bishop Museum, for research in Polynesian 
anthropology, especially mythology, 1938—10; Assistant Head, 
Community Analysis Section, War Relocation Authority, 1944- 
46. At present. Assistant Professor in Anthropology, University 
of Hawaii (from 1946); Associate in Anthropology, Bernice P. 
Bishop Museum (from 1941); Associate Editor, Journal of 
American Folklore (from 1947); Fellow and Council Member, 
American Anthropological Association; Member, Society for 
Applied Anthropology, Polynesian Society, American Folklore 
Society, American Anthropological Association, Anthropo- 
logical Society of Hawaii, Anthropological Society of Washing- 
ton, D.C., American Association of University Professors. Her 
bibliography includes Maui-of-a-thousand-lrtcks, His Oceanic 
and European Biographers (in press); The Native Dog of Poly- 
nesia in Culture and Myth (in press); ilfflui, Tinirati, and 
Rupe, Variations on a Polynesian Mythological Theme (in 
press), “Missionary Contributions to Polynesian Anthropology" 
in Specialized Studies in Polynesian Anthropology (1947); 
Oceanic, American Indian and African Myths of Snaring the 
Sun ( 1940); “Documentary Research in Polynesian Mythology,” 
Polynesian Soc., Jour., 49: 175-95 (1940); "Notes on the De- 
velopment of Polynesian Hero Cycles," Polynesian Soc., Jour., 
49: 367-374 (1940); “More Notes on Ra’a," Polynesian Soc., 
Jour., 49 (1940); “A Hero Among Gods," International Quar- 
terly (1940); “Ho’opa’apa’a," California Monthly (Nov. 1938); 
Navaho Life of Yesterday and Today (1938): “Dreams and 
Dream Interpretations of the Dicgueno Indians of Southern 
California" (with G. Toffclmeir), Psychoanalytic Quarterly 
5: 195-225 (1936); publications on applied anthropology relat- 
ing to the program of the War Relocation Authority, Depart- 
ment of Interior, in regard to American citizens and aliens of 
Japanese descent; and restricted reports on attitudinal surveys 
on various subjects in the U.S. for Program Surveys Division, 
Bureau of Agricultural Economics, U.S. Department of Agri- 

Metraux, Alfred ( 1902 - ) 

Anthropologist, ethnologist, and folklorist. Studied in Lau- 
sanne, Paris, and Gotliemburg. Sweden. Graduate, National 
School of Oriental Languages, Paris; Ecole des Hautes Etudes 
(Sorbonne); Docteur bs leitrcs, Sorbonne, 1928. Director, In- 
stitute of Ethnology, National University of Tucuman, Argen- 
tina, 1928-34. Editor, Revista del Instituto de la Universt dad 
de Tucuman, the first international anthropological journal in 
Latin America, 1929- . Headed the French expedition to 
Easter Island, 1934. Staff member, Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 
Honolulu, 1935-37; visiting professor. University of California 
(Berkeley and Los Angeles) and Yale University, 1937-39; in 
South America, Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, 1939-41. 
Staff member. Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, 
for Handbook of South American Indians, 1941-43. Assistant 
Director, Institute of Social Anthropology, Smithsonian In- 
stitution, 1943-45; Director of Section Studies and Research, 
Department of Social Affairs, United Nations, 1946; United 
Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization 
(UNESCO), 1948. Various anthropological expeditions in 
South America, mainly in the Argentine, Bolivia, and Para- 
guay, and many South Seas islands. At present, engaged in a 
wide anthropological survey of a Haitian valley in connection 
with UNESCO’s pilot project in fundamental education. Many 
articles in scholarly journals and reviews, c.g. a series on the 
Uru-Chipaya of the central Andes in the Journal de la SociSti 
des Amiricanistes de Paris, 1935-36. Other publications: La 
civilisation materiellc des Tupi-Guaranl (1928); The Ethnol- 
ogy of Easter Island (1939); LTle dc Paques (1942); The 
Native Tribes of Eastern Bolivia and Western Matto Grosso 
(1942); Myths and Tales of the Pilaga Indians (Gran Chaco) 

Mish, John Leon ( 1909 - ) [jlmJ 

Scholar in Eastern studies. Universities of Breslau (1926-30) 
and Berlin (1930-34). Ph.D., Berlin, 1934. Then went to Po- 
land, where he was at first Professor of Chinese and Japanese, 
later Deputy Director, of the School for Oriental Studies, War- 
saw; concurrently. Instructor in Japanese, Warsaw University. 
Chinese Liaison Officer in Bombay for Government of India, 



I Ml- King's Medal for Service in die Cause of Freedom (1946). 
\ctin» Chief, Oriental Division, New lork Public Librarj, 
i946-° . Associate Professor of Japanese Language and His ory, 
school for Asiatic Studies, Asia Institute, New lock. Publica- 
tions include The Conditional Sentence in Classical Chinese 
(1936); articles in various periodicals (in this countn - , the 
Saturday Review of Literature and New lork Public Library 

Potter, Charles Francis (1885- ) [c*t] 

Lecturer, author, clergyman. B.A., Bucknell University, 1907; 
jLA., 1916; B.D., Newton Theological Institution, 1913; 
S T M 19 17; Hon. Litt.D., De Landas University, 1910. Minis- 
ter, Baptist churches, 190S-14; Unitarian churches. 1914-25; 
Universal ist Church of the Divine Paternity, New York, 1927— 
29. Professor of Comparative Religion, Antioch College, 1925- 
27. Founder and Leader, First Humanist Society of New York, 
”Jg29- ; Founder and First President. Euthanasia Society of 
America, 193S— . Author of many books and magazine articles 
on comp 3 rati\e religion, folklore, and folk rimes. Bibliography 
includes The Story of Religion, with Special Reference to 
Atavistic Sun'ivals and Parallel Customs in Ethnic Religions and 
Modem Cults (1929); Humanism, A New Religion; Human- 
izing Religion; Is That In the Bible? Technique of Happiness; 
Beyond The Senses; The Preacher and I; Treasury of American 
Folkrime ; Creative Personality; Your Neighbor's Religion 
(in press). 

Seecer, Charles (Louis) (1885- ) [cs] 

Musician and musicologist. B.A., Harvard College, 1903. Pro- 
fessor of Music, University of California, 1912-19; lecturer and 
teacher. Institute of Musical Art and New School for Social 
Research, New York. 1921-35; Chief. Music Division. Pan 
American Union, 1941-18; Chief. Division of Music and 
Visual Arts, Pan American Union, 1948- . Member: Gescll- 
sebaft fur Vcrgleichende Musikwisscnschaft (vice president 
and acting president, 1934-35); New York Musicologicnl 
Society (chairman, 1930-34); American Musicological Society 
(rice president, 1934-35; president. 1945-46); Society Interna- 
tionale de Musicologie; American Folklore Society; Southeast- 
ern Folklore Society; Music Educators National Conference, 
Music Teachers National Association; Music Librarj Associa- 
tion; International Society for General Semantics. Miscellaneous 
musical compositions. Author: Harmonic Structure and Ele- 
mentary Composition (with E. G. Stricklcr, 1916); Folksong, 
US^i. (with J. A. and Alan Lomax, and Ruth Seeger. 1947); 
many articles on music, special chapters, etc, in journals, sur- 
veys, encyclopedias. 

Smith, Marian W. [mws] 

Anthropologist, B.A., Barnard College, 1929; M.A., Columbia 
University, 1934; Ph.D., 1938. Field work: 1935-36, 1938, 1945, 
among American Indians of W *"***' Columbia; 

1941— 43 and during trip to ' . ■ 1 is of New 

York, British Columbia, etc, i»44— la, uuiing war work, on 
Japanese culture. Taught anthropology at Barnard College, 
City College, Brooklyn College, New York University. Vassar 
College, Columbia University. Editor, American Ethnological 
Society; Secretary, Section H (Anthropology), American Associ- 
ation for the Advancement of Science; 1st Vice President, 
American Folklore Society. Books: The Puyallup-Nisqually; 
Indians of the Urban Northwest (in press); Archaeology of trie 
Columbia-Frascr Region (in press). Articles and reviews of sub- 
jects relating to India, articles, etc, on anthropological sub- 
jects, in various journals. 

Taylor, Archer (IS90- ) [at] 

Germanic scholar and comparative folklorist. BA., Swarthmorc 
College, 1909; MA., University of Pennsylvania, 1910; Ph.D., 
Harvard University’, 1915. Instructor, Assistant Professor, As- 
sociate Professor, Washington University, 1915-25; Professor of 
German Literature, University of Chicago, 1925-39; Professor 
of Folklore, 1938-39; Professor of German, University of Cali- 
fornia, 1939- . Editor. Journal of American Folklore (1941); 
editor, California Folklore Quarterly (now Western Folklore), 

1942- . Honorary’ member, Schweizerische Gesellschaft fur 
Volkskunde; Gustav Adolfs Akademi for Folklivsforskning; 
Norsk Videnskabers Selskab (Oslo); Finnish Lfterarv Society; 
Finno-Ugric Society; Finnish Academy of Sciences; Soriedad 
Folklorica Argentina; Soriedad Folklorica Mejicanc*; Folklore 
of Ireland Society; Fellow of the Medieval Academy; Fellow 
of the Newberry Library. Author: The Prover j • SI); Edward 
end Sven i Rosen gard; a Study in the Dissemin, i of a Ballad 
(1931); contributor to the Hcndworlerbuch des ~tulschenAber - 
glaubens and the Handworterbuch des deutschen Marchens; 

A Collection of Welsh Riddles (with Vcraam E. Hull, HL22)- 
The Literary Riddle Before 1600 (1918). 

THOMPSON, Stith (1885- ) r^y 

Educator, author, folktale scholar. BA., University of Wiscon- 
sin, 1909; M.A., University of California, 1912; Ph.D., Harvard 
University, 1914; Litt.D., University of North Carolina, 1916. 
Bonnhcim Research Fellow from University of California to 
Harvard University, 1912-14; Professor of English, Colorado 
College, 1918-20; Associate Professor of English, University oi 
Maine, 1920-21; Professor of English, Indiana University, 1929- 
39; Professor of English and Folklore, 1939- ; Dean of the 
Graduate school, 1947- . United States delegate and member of 
executive committee. International Folklore Congress, Paris, 
1937; vice president. International Association for European 
Ethnology and Folklore Congress, Edinburgh, 1937; technical 
advisor in folklore to Ministry’ of Education of Venezuela, 1947; 
lectures throughout South America; director. Folklore Institute 
of America. 1917- . Member, American Folklore Society (presi- 
dent 1937-40); Modem Language Association of America; Me- 
dieval Academy of America; American Philosophical Society; 
honorary member, Gustav Adolfs Akademi for FoIKIiv sforskning 
(Sweden); Socifte finno-ougrienne (Helsinki); Asodarion Folk- 
lorica Argentina; Soriedad Folklorica de Mexico; Folklore of 
Ireland Society; Socicdadc Brasilicra dc Folklore; Instituto de 
Invcstiga cioncs Folhloricas de la Univcrsidad dc Chile; Servicio 
de Invcstigaciones Tolkloricas Nacionales (Venezuela); Folk- 
lore of the Americas. Author: European Tales among the 
North American Indians (1919); The Types of the Folktale 
(1928); Tales of the North American Indians (1929); British 
Poets of the Nineteenth Century (with Curtis H. Page, 1929); 
Our Heritage of World Literature (1938); English Literature 
and Its Backgrounds (with B. D. N. Grebanier, 1939); Motif- 
Index of Folk-Literature , 6 vols. (1932-37); The Folktale 

Voecelin, Erminie W. (1905- ) [ewv] 

Anthropologist and folklorist. B.A., University of California 
(Berkeley), 1923; M.A., 1931; Ph.D., Yale University, 1939. 
Field work; Tubatulabal (California); Shawnee (Oklahoma); 
Ojibwa (Michigan and Ontario); Klamath, Modoc, Shasta, 
Achomawi. Wimun, Maidu (California). Indiana Fellow in 
Anthropology. Yale University, 1933-35; Research Associate in 
Anthropology, University of California (Berkeley), 1935; in- 
structor in anthropology, Indiana University (Folklore Insti- 
tute). 1943. 1945, 1916, 1947. Review editor. Journal of Ameri- 
can Folklore, 1940; editor, 1941-46. President, American Folk- 
lore Society. 1918; Guggenheim Fellow for study of unwritten 
literature of native North America, 1948. Executive sccTetan. 
American Anthropological Association, 1947- . Fellow, Ameri- 
can Anthropological Association; member, American Folklore 
Society, Indiana Academy of Science, California Folklore Soci- 
ety. Major publications: "Kiowa -Crow Mythological Affilia- 
tions.” /I mer/ren Anthropologist 38 (193!);" Tubatulabal Eth- 
nography, Anthropological Records 2 (1933); Culture Element 
Surrey ; Northeastern Calijomic, Anthropological Records 10 
(1940); Mortuary Cuitoms of the Shawnee and Other Eastern 
Woodlands Tribes, Prehistory Research Series, vol. 2, no. 4 
(1944): Linguistic Map of North American Indians , American 
Ethnological Soriety, Publication No. 21 (with C. F. Vocgelin. 

Waterman, Richard A. (1914- ) [raw] 

Anthropologist. B. A., Santa Barbara College, 1937; M.A., Clare- 
mont College, 1941; Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1943- 
Faculty. Northwestern University, 1913- . His publications 
include Folk Songs of Puerto Rico , Archive of American Folk 
Song. Library’ of Congress (1910); “Afro-Bahian Cult Music,” 
Boletin Latino- Americano de Musica, Vol. 6 (with M. J. 
Herskovits. 1947); Bibliography of Asiatic Musics, serially pub- 
lished by Notes (journal of the Music Library Association) be- 
ginning with 2nd Series. Vol. V. No. I (Dec., 1917); ” *Hot* 
Rhythm in Negro Music.” Journal of the American Musicologi- 
cal Society , Vol. 1, No. 1 (1948). 

Fried, Jerome [jf] 

Gottlieb, Gerald [gcJ 

Haas, Sally Pepper [sph] 

Hazen, John \V. [jwh] 

Kjosterud-Randry, Gudlaug [ckk] 

Leach, Maria [ml] 

Rothman, Julius L. [jlr] 

Smith, Grace Partridce [ers] 



These old myth-covering tales — whether we call them 
Greek or Aryan or what else— are as the grass that will 
grow in any land. 

—Fiona Maclcod, Winged Destiny 

A la troisifcme fontaine. . . Car voilit, il y avait une 
troisieme fontaine. . . 

—Henri Porrat, "Lcs Trois Fontaines,” 
in he Tresor dcs Contes 


African and New World Negro folklore— Waterman and Bascom 18 

American folklore— Botkin 43 

Australian aboriginal mythology— Luomala 92 

Ballad— Leach 106 

Basque folklore— Leach 117 

Celtic folklore— Loomis 200 

Cheremissian or Marian folklore— Balys 214 

Chinese folklore— Jameson 220 

Dance: folk and primitive— Kurath 276 

Estonian folklore— Balys 348 

Estonian mythology— Balys 350 

European folklore— Krappe 354 

Fairy tale— Thompson 365 

Finnish folklore— Thompson and Balys 380 

Finno-Ugric peoples— Balys 387 

Folklore— definitions by the contributors 398 

Folklore and mythology— Krappe 403 

Folktale— Thompson 408 

French folklore— Barbeau 

Games— Fried 43 j 

.Germanic folklore— Taylor 445 

Indian and Persian folklore and mythology— Smith 516 

Indonesian (Malaysian) mythology— Luomala 518 
























American Anthropologist 
Archiv fur Rcligionswisscnschaft 
Bulletin, American Schools of Oriental 

Bulletin, Bureau of American Ethnology 
California Folklore Quarterly 
English and Scottish Popular Ballads- 
F. J. Child (1882-98) 

Danmarks g amle Folkeviscr—S. Grundtvig and 
A. OIrik (1853-1920) 

Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics-]. Hast- 
ings (1908-27) 

Folklore Fellows Communications 
Finnisch-U grische Fo rsch ungen 
Gelehrten Esthnischen Gescllschaft 
Kinder- und Hausmarchcn—]. and W Grimm 

The Fables of ALsop- J. Jacobs (1894) 
International Journal of American Linguistics 
Journal of American Folklore 
Journal of the American Oriental Society 
Memoirs, American Anthropological Associa- 

Memoirs, American Folklore Society 
Memoirs, International Journal of American 

Modern Language Notes 
Modern Language Quarterly 
Modern Language Review 















Numbers of folktale motifs, appearing as 
letters followed by numbers (c.g. S300-395), 
refer to hlotif-Index of Folk-Literature by 
Stith Thompson (1932-3G) 

Modern Philology 

Mcmoires de la Societc Finno-Ottgrienne 
New York Folklore Quarterly 
Publications of the Modern Language Asso- 
cialion of America 

Report, Bureau of American Ethnology 
Revue des Etudes Juives 
Revue de ITIistoire des Religions 
Revue dc Literature Comparde 
Socii'tJ des Ancicns Textes Francois 
Sitzungberichte der Berliner Akademie ier 

Numbers of folktale types, appearing as tl 
word "Type" followed by a number (e. 
Type 145), refer to The Types of the. Fob 
Tale (1928), a translation and cnlargemet 
by Stith Thompson of Antti Aarnc's Ve 
zeichnis der Marchentypcn (1910) 
Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlandische 

entry (article) 

See also 

PP- vn-x for contributors' initials. 


Aa In Assyrian and Babylonian religion, the consort 
of Shamash. Compare Gula. 

Aalu or Aaru One conception of the underworld of 
ancient Egyptian religion. The fields of Aalu were 
reached through cither 15 or 21 gates, each guarded by 
a host of evil demons armed with long knives: a concept 
of Osiris-worship, probably antedating the solar concept 
outlined in underworld. Aalu was a kind of Elysium, 
where the fields were cultivated for food for the dead 
apart from the offerings made by their survivors. 

Aarnc, Antti (18G7-1925) Finnish folklorist; docent at 
Helsingfors for Finnish and Comparative Folklore; spe- 
cialist in folktale and fable. He was the chief exponent 
and developer of the geographical-historical approach 
to folklore research fust presented by Kaarlc Krohn, 
and became with him leader of the modern Finnish 
folklore-study movement. Chief works: l'crglcichcnde 
Marchenforschungen, Helsingfors. 1907, and l'eneichnis 
Murclicntypcn, published in FFC #3, 1910, revised by 
Stith Thompson and published in #74, 1928, under the 
title Types oj the Folktale in World Literature. This 
became the foundation stone for subsequent folklore 
scholarship in Europe and America. See Finnish folk- 

Aaron The first high priest of the Hebrew people; 
elder brother of Moses and spokesman for him to his 
own people and later to Pharaoh (£x. iv, 14 ff.): arche- 
type of the high-priesthood. Aaron's rod was used by him 
to perform many feats of magic in the attempt to con- 
vince Pharaoh to release the Israelites: it was changed 
into a snake and swallowed the snake-rods of the Egyp- 
tian sorcerers; it remained a rod and engulfed the rods 
of the magicians. Three of the plagues were brought 
upon the Egyptians by Aaron's hand and rod: the rivers 
of blood, the frogs, and the lice. In Jewish tradition, 
Aaron was accompanied by his son Elcazar and by 
Moses to his last resting-place on Mt. Hor. There, in a 
cave, he lay down upon a divine couch and died, leaving 
his vestments and office to Elcazar. The cave entrance 
was obliterated by God, but when the people murmured 
that perhaps Moses had killed Aaron in jealousy for his 
popularity, Aaron was shown to them on the couch, 
floating in the air. In Moslem legend, Moses and Aaron 
went up the mountain together, not knowing which 
was to die. In the cave they found a coffin, which did not 
fit Moses, but teas exactly Aaron's size. Another Moslem 
story says that the couch of death was found in a house 
atop the mountain. Moses, knowing that Aaron was to 
die, suggested that Aaron rest for a while. The couch 
and Aaron on it were then transported to heaven. In 
Jewish legend, Aaron is in Paradise, seated beneath the 
Tree of Life, instructing the priesthood in its duties. 

Aaron’s rod The rod cast by Aaron before Pharaoh, 
which became a serpent {Ex. vii, 9-15) and which later 
blossomed (Alum, xvii, 8): typical of the magic wand of 
all magicians of all times and all peoples. With it Aaron 
brought the first three plagues on Egypt. When Pharaoh 
demanded a sign of Moses and Aaron standing before 
him, Aaron threw down his rod and it became a serpent. 
When the magicians of Egypt matched that one, Aaron’s 
rod swallowed the rods of the Egyptians. Later Aaron’s 
rod alone of the twelve rods of the 12 princes of Israel 
blossomed in the tabernacle and bore ripe almonds, in 
token of the validity of the priesthood of Aaron and his 
descendants. One legend states that it was made of sap- 
phire and inscribed with the ten Hebrew initials of the 
ten plagues; another that it was one of twelve rods which 
Moses cut from the Tree of Knowledge. Rabbinical 
legend says this rod was a gift from God to Adam when 
he was driven out of Eden. It passed from father to son 
until it came to Joseph, on whose death it was stolen by 
Jethro, the Egyptian. Jethro planted it in his garden, 
but could never again pull it out of the earth, until 
Moses came to that place, read the name of God en- 
graved thereon, and took it up in his hand. Moses re- 
ceived Jethro's daughter in marriage: the traditional 
reward for the miracle. There are many Christian and 
Mohammedan modifications of these stories, among 
them that the rod became part of Christ's cross. The 
sloTy presents three typical elements of world folklore: 
the magic wand, the dry rod blossoms, and the sword 
in the rock. 

Aarvak In Norse mythology, one of the horses of the 
sun; the dawn. 

Ababinili The supreme being of the North American 
Chickasaw Indians: literally, Sitting-Above or Dwclling- 
Abovc,or Loak-IshtO-hoollo-Aba, Great Holy Fire Above. 
His earthly manifestation is fire, especially the annual 
sacred fire of the Chickasaws. He is at the same time the 
sun, and the spirit of fire apart from the sun, giver of 
warmth, light, and of all plant and animal life. 

abandoned children A motif (SS00-395) occurring in 
folktales all over the world, in which one child, often 
two children, sometimes several, seven, or all the children 
of a tribe, arc either abandoned or driven away. The 
reasons are either economic and social, such as unfitness 
to survive, illegitimacy, incestuous parentage, famine or 
destitution, disease, etc., or various other reasons com- 
mon to folklore and legend, such as supernatural parent- 
age or birth, fear of the fulfilment of a propheq-, 
jealousy of a relative, parent, or step-parent, alleged 
ungratefulness on the part of the child, as well as dis- 
obedience or stupidity. 

Poverty and lack of food arc the most frequent reasons; 
fear of the fulfilment of a prophecy is next. Invariably, 



however, the abandoned children Sourish and prosper. 
They are nursed by animals (Romulus and Remus) or 
fed by birds; animals provide them with magical aid; 
they are fostered by supernatural beings (Abraham), or 
picked up by kings and reared at court (Cyrus, Moses, 
Joseph, (i. dipus. Orestes, etc.). And they frequently re- 
turn to heap succoring coals of fire on the heads of their 
still starving parents. Perhaps the most popular of all 
abandoned children stories is Hansel and Gretel; the 
Filipino Juan and Maria is very similar. 

Children abandoned in time of famine by one or both 
parents is a frequent motif in North American Indian 
tales, which almost invariably also include the super- 
natural animal helper and usually the return of the 
child or children with aid and forgiveness. In a Gros 
Ventre story' all the children of a certain camp were 
deserted by the adults; they wandered off and were 
killed by an old woman, except for one girl and her little 
brother; a bird in the forest helped the girl perform the 
hag's tasks; a two-horned animal helped them cross a 
river and drowned the pursuing hag. When they caught 
up with their parents, they were deserted again and 
hung up in a tree. But the little scabby dog (also 
abandoned) cut them down, gave them the gift of fire, 
and the three lived together and prospered. The boy 
killed game for food by a glance, built tents, made 
clothes, etc., by a glance; the girl told him what to look 
at! Eventually the starving elders returned, were fed and 
forgiven, but unfortunately the boy happened to look at 
them and they all fell dead! The Lipan Apache aban- 
doned children story varies, however, in the motive for 
abandonment and the tone of the ending. An old woman 
denies and abandons her own two children to marry a 
young man. They thrive in the forest, learning first to 
make and use bow and arrow’s, subsisting on grass- 
hoppers, then birds, then rabbits, then deer, wearing 
deerskin clothes, living in deerskin tipis, etc. The story- 
ends with the discovery of the prosperous children by 
the starving villagers, whom they generously feed. But 
the boy kills the mother with a club. The charming 
Cochiti story' of the deer who found the abandoned baby 
and took him home riding on his antlers lacks the con- 
ventional ending: because of a broken tabu on the part 
of the over-eager mother, the little one had to remain a 
fawn among the deer's faw-ns forever. See animal nurse; 
Dler Bov; reversal of fortune. 

abandoned wife The theme of a cycle of stories which 
almost invariably begin with the heroine's having her 
hands cut off and being abandoned by her family for 
any of several reasons. She may be abandoned in a boat 
(S431), left on an island (S-133), driven into the forest 
(S143), thrown into the water (S432), or cast into a pit 
(S435), but she is always discovered by a king who per- 
ceives her true worth and marries her. When her child is 
born she is again abandoned or cast out, this time by her 
husband, usually because of the slanders or intrigues of 
jealous or evil sisters, rivals, in-laws, etc. The common 
accusation is that the wife has given birth to an animal 
or monster or that she has murdered her child. She 
wanders off into the world with or without the child. 
Here the water of life motif enters in, eventually she 
comes to a magic lake or well or is given a wonderful 
drink which restores her to wholeness and beauty. She 
wins backher husband and the evil ones aie punished. In 
Kashmir and Bengal variants seven nueens are blinded 

by their husband on the whim of a jealous eighth and 
cast into a well. The water restores their sight and the 
usual justice ensues. 

This story, most typically known as The Maiden 
Without Hands, is known all over Europe from Lapland 
to Sicily, Brittany to Russia, with minor variations. It 
turns up in the Near East, and in India; there are at 
least six African variants and two North American In- 
dian versions; it is found also in Brazil and Chile. It 
appears in literary guise as early as 1200 A.D. in England; 
Chaucer used it in “The Man of Lawes Tale," Gower in 
Confcssio Amantis. Variants occur in the Arabian Nights 
and the Pcntameron, and it is the theme of a number of 
South Slavic folk songs. 

abandonment Desertion of the aged, the sick, the de- 
formed or crippled, the helpless, or of infants and 
children by parents, family group, or community: a 
time-rooted practice among many peoples. Technically 
abandonment is desertion of the aged and helpless; 
abandonment of infants to perish is called exposure. 

Basic causes for abandonment have always been eco- 
nomic: lack of food or fear of such lack, and the use- 
lessness of the aged to the group, i.e. uselessness to the 
point of becoming burdensome or encumbering. This 
holds especially in nomadic cultures. The Arabs either 
abandoned the old and helpless or buried them alive. 
The ancient Persians and Armenians left them in the 
deserts to be devoured by wild beasts. The early Romans 
hurled everyone over GO into the Tiber. Certain South 
African peoples, especially the Bushmen and Hottentots, 
take their old people into the wilderness and leave them 
inside a small enclosure with a little food. The en- 
closure is to protect them from wild beasts. Hunters 
often come upon human skeletons within these circles 
of stakes. Many North American Indians left the old, the 
sick, and the weak behind when the camp moved on 
(Hudson Bay Eskimos, the Hurons, the Iroquois). The 
Algonquians abandoned the sick whether old or young; 
certain California tribes either killed or abandoned the 
old; the prairie Indians left the old behind with a little 
food and water; the Utes continued to abandon their 
aged late into the 19th century. Even our own pioneers 
of the covered-wagon treks across the plains, as recently 
as 1849, left the weak or dying beside the trail with a 
little fire. Melanesians either bum or bury alive their 
aged parents, and abandon the very ill in haste through 
fear of the demons by which the delirious are believed 
to be possessed. Many South American Indian tribes also 
leave the sick to their fate through fear of the evil spirits 
which have caused the disease. In fact superstition is 
almost as potent a factor in abandonment as famine or 

Abandonment and exposure of infants and small chil- 
dren stem from the same causes, plus other economic 
reasons, such as the dowry that must be paid on a 
daughter, which makes daughters a liability, as con- 
trasted with the bride-price on marriageable daughters, 
which makes female infants desirable. In Sarawak where 
the son-in-law works for the bride’s father, girl babies 
are cherished and boy babies are hung in baskets on a 
tree and left to die. Other reasons are shame for the 
deformity, illegitimacy, or incestuous origin of a child, 
and superstitious fears in regard to the abnormal. In 
some countries twins and triplets are invariably ex- 
posed because they are believed to be unlucky. The 



strange phenomenon known as Siamese twins still dis- 
mays most human minds; Life (March 10, 1947) pictures 
a pair of abandoned Chinese Siamese twins picked up by 
a childless mother. In India, even until recently, parents 
were averse to raising a child born on an unlucky day. 
Concern for perfection of the race caused the ancient 
Spartans to expose misshapen or unfit infants. The 
Nilotic Negro mother who has lost one or more children 
believes that if she leaves the next one in the road at 
sunrise as an offering to hostile spirits the bad luck will 
be broken. The natives of central and southeastern 
Australia have such a prolonged suckling period that 
any child born before the preceding one is weaned is 
either killed or abandoned. And when food is scarce the 
Smith Sound Eskimos expose their newborn to the cold 
if they already have two children. 

Only when the death of the child is definitely desired, 
as in cases of gripping superstition, is one abandoned or 
exposed in a place where it is unlikely to be found. The 
growth of foundling homes in China, France, Cuba, and 
other parts of the civilized world bears witness to the 
fact that most infants are abandoned in the hope they 
will be picked up. Babies left on seats in railroad stations 
or found in railroad station lockers are examples. Today 
it is illegal to abandon the aged, ill, helpless, infants, or 
children; and in some of the United States it is illegal 
even to abandon a disabled or helpless animal. See 

abandonment on the island A motif (S145) occurring 
in various types of folktales all over the world, in which 
the abandoned person always outwits the abandoner and 
escapes. The motif turns up representatively in the 
Ojibway (western Ontario) tale, The Marooned Egg- 
hunter , belonging to the widespread North American 
Indian cycle of son-in-law test stories. After having 
failed to outwit and kill his son-in-law by various ruses, 
one day IVemicus, the Trickster, proposed that they go 
to a certain rocky island for gulls' eggs. When the son- 
in-law was well ashore, the old man pulled off in his 
canoe and left him there. Undismayed, the young man 
filled his shirt with eggs and flew home across the lake 
by means of a pair of gull’s wings he took from one of 
the island gulls. The wife was cooking the eggs and the 
children playing with the wings w hen Wemicus got back. 

The motif occurs in the stupid ogre cycle. There are 
Finnish and Russian stories of a hero, about to be 
abandoned on an island by an ogre, who concealed him- 
self in the ogre’s clothing and the ogre himself unwit- 
tingly rescued his victim from the island. The type is the 
Norwegian story of a wife, falsely accused, abandoned 
by her husband on an island, from which she is rescued 
and catches up with him just in the nick of time to save 
him from some terrible fate. 

Abbot of Unreason or Misrule Scottish term for the 
Lord of Misrule. 

Abbots Bromley Antler or Horn dance A men’s dance 
with reindeer horns held near the head, performed only 
at Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire. The traditional date 
for its performance, Twelfth Day, has been moved to the 
Monday after September 4 to coincide with Wakes week. 
There are six dancers, as in the Morris, three with the 
great antlers painted white and three with red. The 
other characters also resemble those of the Morris; there 
is a Maid Marian, a hobby horse, a fool, also an addi- 

tional boy with a bow and arrow. The dance is preceded 
by a circuit of the farms to bring luck. Finally in one 
of the farmyards, to an accordion, they “deer”-circle, 
serpentine, then progress in loop patterns; then at a 
grunt from the leader, they meet and retire in two lines 
and cross over. Formerly there were also heys and other 
figures. The symbolic coloring, deer horns, and formerly 
ritual characters (man, woman, and clown) point to an 
ancient ritual significance, marking this as one of the few 
surviving animal dances in Europe, [gpk] 

abdominal dance A dance based on certain stylized 
swinging movements of the rectus abdominis, usually 
performed only by women. In its late development it 
is called the belly dance, or (in north Africa) danse dti 
ventre, but in its most primitive form it involves not 
only the abdominal muscles, but movements of the entire 
pelvic region, which are typically known as the “pelvic 
roll." All over Asia this dance is performed and watched 
with reverence as symbolic of “the mystery and pain of 
motherhood.” Asiatics maintain that only Occidental 
misinterpretation could transform it into the pure sex 
pantomime called the danse du ventre or the burlesque 
performance of circus side shows called the hootchie- 
kootchie. The ancient primitive type is performed in the 
Caroline Islands, in New Guinea, in the Celebes, in the 
Solomons, and in eastern Polynesia generally, and from 
coastal north Africa to Loango and Zanzibar. It is danced 
also among the Canelia Indians of the Ge and of north- 
eastern Brazil. It is known to have been performed in 
certain districts in ancient Greece and was the fine art 
of the famous dancing girls in old Cadiz (the Gaditanas). 
Originally it was a fertility dance, with the stimulation 
of sexual excitement only a secondary object. In primi- 
tive cultures the miming of the sexual act and the 
accentuation of the child-bearing part of the body con- 
stitute a sympathetic magic to insure and promote pro- 
lificness and the life process. 

abduction The capture, carrying off, or detention of 
a girl or woman with intent to marry or mate: one of 
the most primitive forms of marriage. The Old Testa- 
ment book of Judges describes the abduction of 400 
virgins of Jabesh-gilead for wives for the tribe of Ben- 
jamin, who later went to Shiloh during a feast and 
"took them wives according to their numbers of them 
that danced, whom they captured.” The rape of the 
Sabine women by the Romans is one of the famous mass 
abductions of history. Abduction was also a custom 
among ancient Teutonic peoples; and among certain 
southern Slavic groups marriage by abduction was 
practiced well into the 19th century. So deeply rooted 
in the human mind is the psychology of marriage by 
capture that many marriage celebrations still include a 
mock capture of the bride with mock resistance on the 
part of her relatives. Abduction is the motif, for in- 
stance, of an old Scandinavian folk dance, the Bort- 
dansingert, in which both men nnd women dancers try 
to steal the bride from her female guardians. 

The folktales of the world are full of abductions, 
especially abductions of a beautiful maiden by a super- 
natural lover. There are countless stories of gods, cen- 
taurs, ogres, giants, dwarfs, whirlwinds (Basuto), fairies, 
water-spirits, mermen, and animals, who have abducted 
lovely women through the ages and taken them to live 
a magical carefree life in their supernatural abodes. The 


story of Europa and the bull of Pluto and Persephone, 
are famous and classical examples. The polar bears who 
abducted the blond Scandinavian maidens proved to be 
kind and wealthy husbands. Even the fearful Water- 
Monster of the Chiricahua Apache Indian stories, who 
caught the young girl when she came to the pool to fill 
her jug, turned out to be a beautiful young man in his 
own land and a son-in-law of great benevolence to the 
girl’s people left behind. 

Other abduction motifs describe how the devil carries 
off faultfinders, scolding women, usurers, and other 
wicked people. The Hottentot story of the boy abducted 
by baboons has its modem parallel in the abduction of 
Mowgli by the Bander-log in Kipling's Jungle Book. 

Abel The second son of Adam; the first man to die— 
the victim of the first murder (Gen. iv, 2-8). In both 
Hebrew and Moslem tradition, Cain and Abel had twin 
sisters, Cain’s the prettier of the two. Adam and Eve 
planned to have the brothers marry each other's sister, 
but Cain balked. When, in addition, the offering of 
Abel, the best of his flock, was accepted by God, and the 
offering of Cain, a poor sheaf and the remainder of a 
meal, was refused, Cain decided to kill Abel. But since 
he did not know just what would cause Abel to die, he 
had to keep throwing stones at his brother, until one 
struck a fatal blow in die neck. Cain now tried to dispose 
of the body by hiding it in the earth; of course, God 
knew it was there and He cursed the earth for accepting 
the body of Abel. According to other tradition, Cain did 
not know how to get rid of the corpse and carried it 
about on his back until he saw one bird burying another. 

abiku Evil spirits of the Yoruba of West Africa, espe- 
cially dangerous to children: omnipresent, always hun- 
gry and thirsty, and always seeking to enter the body of 
some child in order to obtain food and drink. When one 
finds human habitation, he shares his food with other 
abiku still unembodied, with the result that the child 
dies. To rid a child of the abiku the parents offer it food 
in likely places, and, while it is eating, bell the child, 
for abiku dislike the sound of bells. Sometimes they rub 
pepper into small cuts in the child's skin and the abiku 
depart to escape the pain. 

In Dahomean belief, among the people directly west 
of the Yoruba, an abiku is one of a group of forest 
spirits, permitted by Mawu, the creator, to enter the 
womb of a woman, to be born, dwell on earth for a 
time, die, and be reborn in the same family. When the 
parents of a child suspect or become convinced that their 
child is an abiku, they dedicate him to a Vodu (a god) 
with the intent that the Vodu will protect him from the 
spirits which will surely come to take him back to the 
forest. Sometimes they scarify the child's face, either to 
make him unrecognizable or so ugly that the spirits will 
not want him. Iron anklets hold such a child to earth; 
belled bracelets prevent his running away. Abiku is also 
a generic term for the spirit of all such children. 

Abokns The afterworld or home of the dead in the 
Melanesian mythology- of parts of the New Hebrides. 
It is always believed to be on a nearby island. See after- 
world; Melanesian mythology, [kl] 

Above Old Man The Creator of the Wiyot Indian 
mythology', who thought things into existence. His name 
is Gudatri-Gakwitl, and he remains a living deity today 
among this almost extinct people. H<- more nearly ap- 


proximates the creator of monotheistic thought than 
any other creator of northwestern California Indian 

abracadabra A magic word or formula used in incan 
tations against fevers and inflammations and sometimes 
against misfortunes. The patient wore an amulet around 
lus neck bearing the inscription 

The idea was that the disease would gradually disap. 
pear just as the inscription gradually dwindled to noth- 
ing. The word first occurs in the writings of Severus 
Sannnonicus, a Gnostic physician of the 2nd century. 
Jewish scholars question that it is of cabalistic origin, 
but point to a striking parallel, the Talmudic spell 
against Shabriri, the demon of blindness. A person in 
danger of becoming blind must say: My mother bath 
told me to beware of 





and the demon disappears along with his name. By this 
token it may be that the word abracadabra was originally 
the name of some demon, now unrecognizable. 

Belief in the magic word is rooted in the ancient belief 
not only in the identity of the self with its name, but 
also in the power inherent in names. To speak the name 
of a supernatural being, sometimes even to know it, gave 
one the power to invoke that being. In the evolution of 
magic, however, the manipulation of the words and 
formulas themselves gradually superseded the impor- 
tance of the name or the meaning of the word, until the 
more incomprehensible or fantastic the word, the more 
power in it. See name tabu. 

Abraham In the Old Testament, the first of the 
patriarchs, progenitor of the Hebrews: prototype of 
absolute and unquestioning faith, the "friend of God” 
to whom and his numberless seed was promised the land 
of Canaan. Faith in the face of misfortune and despair 
is the Story. At God’s bidding the shepherd Abram mi- 
grated from Haran, whence he and his father Teran had 
come from Ur in Babylonia to a strange land (Canaan) 
where the famous covenant took place, and he received 
from God the promise of a son in his old age and the 
new name Abraham, “father of many nations.” At God’s 
bidding too he would have sacrificed Isaac, that “son of 
promise," but because of his faith God showed him a 
rain in the bush to be sacrificed instead, and renewed 
the promise to multiply his seed “as the stars of heaven." 

Rabbinical legend adds to this story many stories of 
Abraham’s opposition to Chaldean astrology, stories of 
his smashing the idols in his father’s house because they’ 
would neither partake of the sacrificial foods nor answer 
prayer, and his subsequent mission in the world as 



spokesman for the one and living God. Rabbinical leg- 
' end also ascribes to Abraham the towering size of the 
typical culture hero, along with the discovery of astron- 
t omy, invention of better modes of agriculture and sced- 
i ing, invention of the alphabet, and knowledge of magic. 

; He wore a precious stone around his neck with which 

he healed the sick. 

In Mohammedan legend, the story of Abraham begins 
with a slaughter of 70,000 male infants to prevent the 
fulfilment of a prophecy that a boy would be born to 
rise against Nimrod, king of Babylon, and would break 
all the idols. Hence Abraham was born in a cave outside 
the town and on the tenth day abandoned. But the 
angel Gabriel put the baby's finger into its mouth, milk 
flowed from the finger, and when the sorrowing mother 
returned to the cave on the twentieth day, she found a 
sturdy youth already praising the God who created 
heaven and earth. The iconoclast stories are many and 
elaborate, culminating with Nimrod’s order to cast 
Abraham first into prison, later into a fiery furnace. He 
was fed by Gabriel for one year in prison and drank 
from the spring which God caused to gush from the 
walls. He was catapulted into the fire which none could 
approach and live, but his faith in God caused the fire 
to cool and become a rose garden. Whereupon all the 
people believed in the God of Abraham from that mo- 
ment on. This story is told by Thomas Moore in Lalla 
Rookh. Abraham figures as largely in Mohammedan 
legend as in Jewish, in that Mohammed claimed to 
preach, not a new faith, but the "restoration of the re- 
ligion of Abraham." See abandoned children; slaugiuer 


absurdity rebukes absurdity The motif (J1530) of an 
enormous group of stories belonging to the nonsense 
folklore of the world: usually the sole motif in the story 
containing it. Typical of these is the story- of the man 
whose foal strayed into a field with two oxen belonging 
to a neighbor. When he went to bring home his foal, the 
neighbor claimed it. The ease was taken to the king who 
adjudged the foal to the man who swore it belonged 
to his two oxen. The next day a man was seen fishing in 
the road with a huge fishnet. The king went out to ques- 
tion him. It was the rightful owner of the foal, who said, 
“As easy to catch fish on dry' land as for two oxen to 
produce a foal.” Of course justice was given. This story 
occurs in the German marchen, is well known in all 
Baltic folklore, and in Spain. Even more famous and 
ancient is the story (widely current in India, Tibet, 
Ceylon) of the man who went on a journey leaving a 
bag of gold dust in another's care. When he returned 
the friend handed him a bag of sand, saying, "It changed 
to sand in your absence.” Some time later this friend too 
took a journey and left his small son in the other's keep- 
ing. When he returned and asked for his child he was 
given a lively ape. "He turned into this in your absence,” 
said the friend. As usual the satisfactory exchange was 
made. This motif is closely related to the reductio ad 
absurdutn motif (H952) and the rule must work both 
ways motif (J1511). 

acacia A. scyal may be the shittah wood of which 
the Israelites built the ark of the covenant and the altar 
of the tabernacle. When Jacob went to Egypt, he planted 
"cedar trees,” and the wood of these was carried into 
the desert in the exodus. Of the 2-1 varieties of "cedar,” 

only shittim wood could be used, the Lord having fore- 
seen the sin which the Israelites would commit at 
Shittim ( Num . xxv), and the use of the wood in building 
the ark and the altar atoning for the crime. In later 
rabbinical tradition, it was ruled that this wood could 
be used only for this purpose and not for ordinary build- 
ing and furniture making. The thorns of the acacia are 
supposed to have been in the crown that Christ wore to 
Golgotha. The wood of the acacia is burned on Buddhist 
altars, and Hindus use it in preparing their sacrificial 
fires. In India, it is believed that an evil spirit resides in 
the acacia, but that lie will work evil only if a bed is 
made from or repaired by acacia wood: such a bed can- 
not be slept in. Frazer (Magic Art II) mentions an acacia 
in Patagonia in which a spirit abides, and to which the 
natives make offerings, even of clothing and horses. The 
ashes or the bark of the babul (Acacia arabica) are used 
in post-operative treatment by certain groups of eunuchs 
in India. In folktale, the “heart in the acacia flower," 
taking its name from an incident in the tale of Anpu 
and Rata (The Two Brothers), is a well-known variant 
of the separable soul motif. 

acatlaxqui The dance of the reed-throwers: a primi- 
tive dance of the Otomi Indians of the municipality of 
Pahuatlin, Puebla, in Santa Catarina Nopochtla, around 
St. Catherine’s Day, November 25, and also in Atla and 
Tlalcruz, Mexico. The dancers (ten or more young 
men) dressed in white cotton coats, red knee-pants, wear 
red bandanas crossed over one shoulder and under the 
other, conical paper hats with paper ribbons streaming 
from the points, and sandals which patter on the stone 
floor. Each carries a strong reed, of about an arm's 
length, ornamented with feathers, and having about a 
dozen slender reeds attached to it, the whole so devised 
as to slide out and arch upwards when the dancers make 
their cast. The center figure is a boy dressed as a girl, 
called the Maringuilla, the little Mary. She carries a 
gourd containing a wooden snake. The dance begins 
inside the church with the dancers in two rows, changing 
to one row- before the entrance, and later forming a circle 
around the Maringuilla, while one holds the snake over 
her head. Finally she is lifted onto a small platform 
while the dancers circle round her. The climax of the 
dance is the flinging up of the reeds into an arched dome 
over her head, and the simultaneous ringing of the 
church bell and bursting of rockets. 

The Otomi Indians are noted for the persistence with 
which their primitive religious beliefs and observances 
survive under cover of Catholicism. This dance points 
not only to their ancient serpent-worship (the serpent 
god Mixcoatl was theirs), but the boy in girl's dress 
(always a phallic symbol), the reeds (another phallic 
symbol), and the centering of the dance around the boy- 
girl, all suggest some ancient fertility rite whose signifi- 
cance may (or may not be) lost, except for the tradition 
of pre-Columbian origin. [gi>k] 

acculturation Although the term has been defined in 
various ways, in essence acculturation is to be regarded 
as denoting the study of culture-change in process, where 
change is induced by contacts between peoples having 
different ways of life. First employed by J. W. Powell in 
1880 in the sense of culture-borrowing, it was largely dis- 
placed by the word "diffusion” until the middle of the 
1930's. Diffusion studies, which were in essence attempts 


dressed as a girl at the court of Lycomedes, king of 
Scyros. Here lie was discovered by Ulysses and induced 
to join the Greeks against Troy. Later when Agamemnon 
was awarded Briseis, a slave-girl to whom Achilles was 
devoted, Achilles “sulked in his tent” and refused to 
fight again for Agamemnon. Things were going badly 
for the Greeks until Fatroclus, Achilles’ dearest friend, 
wearing Achilles’ armor to terrify the enemy, went forth 
and routed the Trojans. But I’atrocl us himself was 
killed, whereupon the Greeks again fell back, until 
Achilles came raging out against the enemy to avenge 
the death of his friend. He rescued the body of Patroclus, 
killed Hector the next day, and completely defeated the 
Trojans. Later story says that Paris discovered the secret 
of his vulnerable heel and killed him with a poisoned 

In pre-Homeric myth, Achilles often appears as a sea 
god whose temples were built on capes and cliffs along 
the coasts, where navigators could propitiate him for 
favorable winds, safe arrivals, etc. 

In folklore Achilles is the prototype of the super- 
human hero who preferred glory to long life. His story 
contains four typical world folk motifs: the hero dis- 
guised in women's clothes, the vital spot, the magic 
weapon, the talking horse. See swords; vulnerable spot; 
Xanthos and Balios. 

Achilles’ spear The wonderful spear or lance of 
Achilles, which had the power to heal whatever wound 
it made. Telephus, king of Mysia, was wounded by it in 
a battle with the Greeks who landed on his shores cn 
route to Troy. The wound would not heal until Telc- 
phus, heeding the words of Apollo, “He that wounds 
shall heal," sought out Achilles among the Greeks en- 
camped before Troy. An ointment containing rust from 
the spear was applied to the wound and it was healed. 

A Cholla mo Run Scottish musical legend of “the 
piper’s warning,” embodying the belief that the bagpipe 
had the power of speech. See BAcriPE. 

a$on A type of rattle, usually a calabash containing 
pebbles or seeds, used in connection with drums and 
ogan in Haitian vodun rites. The rattle, played by an 
initiate who is an accomplished singer, establishes a 
ground rhythm against which the drums work out their 
more elaborate patterns and, when shaken in prolonged 
continuous sound, serves to break the beat of one song 
before the beginning of another. During the singing and 
dancing the player of the rattle joins the dancers, shak- 
ing his instrument high over their heads in short sharp 
notes, takes the lead in new refrains, and takes solo parts 
in the characteristic exchange of solo and chorus parts. 
The a^on is prepared for its part in the ceremonies by a 
baptismal rite along with the drums and the ogan. 

aconite Any of a genus ( Aconitum ) of plants of which 
monkshood is one well-known species. From ancient 
times in Europe and northern Asia the plant has been 
recognized as the source of a powerful poison. India es- 
pecially is noted for its mountain aconites. The Nepal 
aconite of the Himalayas is probably the most deadly; 
source of the famous Bikh poison. The Nepalese have 
been known to use it generously in wells and springs to 
protect towns and stop advancing armies. Many species 
are as deadly in local application as when taken inter- 
nally. All over northern Asia it was used on arrow heads 
to kill tigers and other game as well as against human 

enemies. Aconite arrow poison among the Aintis and 
other peoples of the east Asiatic coast is well known. 
Aconite arrow, lance-tip, and harpoon poison is equally 
common among the Kamchadal hunters, especially 
whalers, to the north of this region, and came to Amer- 
ica with the Asiatic culture drift across the Bering Strait 
from the Kamchatka region, to be widely practiced by 
the Aleutian and Kodiak whalers. 

The Penzer notes to the Katha Sarit Sugnrn mention a 
Neapolitan story of two lovers tricked to their death 
with this poison. A young girl was persuaded by her un- 
scrupulous father to rub her body with an ointment he 
had prepared, assuring her it was a love charm to bind 
her lover to her forever. The girl used the ointment 
(which contained aconite) and both she and her lover 
died of it that night. Various preparations from some 
species, however, are used locally to give relief from 
neuralgia, or internally as a tonic, febrifuge, or aphro- 
disiac. Compare poison damsel. 

acorn The fruit of the oak ( Qucrcus ), a one-seeded 
nut fixed in a little woody cup. The tree is usually about 
20 years old before the acorns appear and they them- 
selves take one, two, or three years to mature. In many 
species they are edible. In folklore and proverb the acorn 
is the symbol of prolonged effort preceding perfect 
achievement. Great oaks from little acorns grow not only 
expresses the de minimis maxime idea, but also implies 
they were a long time a-growing. The famous German 
story of the man who said he would pay the devil when 
he harvested his first crop and then vent out and planted 
acorns is in the tradition. The ancient Celtic druids ate 
the acorns of their sacred oaks in preparation for 

The acorn figures little beyond this symbolization 
among peoples where cereal grains or maize abound. But 
among peoples who have no corn and where acorns 
are plentiful, especially among tribes of California In- 
dians, the stories are full of references: Sun’s wife was 
cooking acorn mush for supper (Achomawi); two boys 
on a journey gathered, cooked, and ate acorns (Wappo); 
Coyote and his grandmother had a famous argument 
about how to prepare them (Yurok). The Natchez 
(southern Mississippi valley), who did have corn, had 
also a story telling how the animals once had a chief 
who let each one choose the food he wished to live on. 
And Squirrel chose acorns. But the Luiscnos (southern 
California coastal tribe), who even as late as 1905 still 
subsisted largely on acorns and fish, have a myth giving 
authority for their diet. IVy-6t, the first (or last) born of 
sky and earth, was the guardian of all earthly things and 
beloved by all of them. Only Frog hated him because she 
envied his beautiful legs. She spit in the spring from 
which he drank and in ten months he died. But before 
he left the earth he taught the people all he knew, gave 
them their laws and arts, and promised that from his 
ashes would come their most valuable possession. Out 
of the ashes grew the oak tree and the acorns were as big 
as apples. Then the people sent Crow to the big star to 
find Wy-6t. Crow could not find him. Then Humming- 
Bird went and came back with the message: "All birds 
and animals, eat the seeds of my tree. All men, make 
flour from the seeds and make cakes from the flour.” So 
with gladness the people took the acorns and made the 
feast of the acorns. See Coyote and the Acorns. 



judgment oE God upon them for their disobedience: 
pains of childbirth for the woman, labor and toil for the 
man, and expulsion from Eden for the two of them, to 
make their way in a less bountiful environment, where 
they became the parents of three sons, Cain, Abel, and 

Apocryphal and rabbinical legend enlarge upon the 
details: Adam was made from red clay from the four 
regions of the earth ( adorn is the Hebrew word for red); 
his body reached from earth to heaven (before the fall), 
and "he was of extreme beauty and sunlike brightness." 
The Slavonian Hook of Enoch tells how all the angels 
bowed before Adam except Satan who in punishment for 
his rebellion was hurled into the abyss and henceforth 
became the enemy of man; also, how the angels, full of 
wonder at Adam's beauty, were about to worship him 
until God put sleep upon him to show them lie was mor- 
tal. Adam was meant for immortality but death became 
his lot when lie ate the forbidden fruit, and the animals 
no longer obeyed him but feared and attacked him. The 
Book of the Secrets of Enoch contains the poetical de- 
scription of the creation of Adam from seven (or eight) 
substances: his llcsli from the earth, his bones from 
rocks, his veins from roots, his blood from water (or 
dew), his eyes from the light of the sun, his hair from 
grass, his thoughts from the wind, his spirit from the 
clouds. Another story says that Adam's soul was created 
1000 years before his body. When the time came for the 
soul to enter the body lie refused to exchange heaven 
for human flesh until Gabriel beguiled him into it with 
music in a moment of ecstasy. Ever since the soul has 
been as reluctant to leave the body as it was to enter it. 

Mohammedan legend anticipates the evolutionary 
theory of creation with the story of how Allah sent rains 
upon the earth to prepare the slime from which to 
create Adam. Adam's body lay stretched out upon the 
ground for 1G0 years before it received the breath of 
life. When Allah pul the breath of life in his nostrils, 
Adam sneered and said, "Praise be to Allah." 

An Arabian story remarks upon the cleverness of 
Adam at the moment of expulsion from Eden to remem- 
ber to grab up an anvil, two hammers, a pair of tongs, 
and a needle to face the new world with. Adam was cast 
out of Eden from the Gate of Penitence. Eve from the 
Gate of Mercy, Iblis from the Gate of Malediction, and 
the serpent from the Gate of Calamity. Adam landed in 
Ceylon, Eve at Jiddah, Iblis at Ailah, and the serpent at 
Isfahan in Persia. Two hundred years went by before 
Adam and Eve met again at Jcbcl Arafat, the Mount of 

These stories arc typical of Adam lore in the great 
body of Jewish and Mohammedan tradition: there arc 
countless others, often identical in incident and import, 
but svitlr a wealth of ramification. The story of the fall 
is found among other peoples too. The Prometheus- 
Pandora myth of the Greeks is built about the same ele- 
ments; the motifs arc almost identical. See Liumi. 

Adam and Eve and Pinch Me A catch rime which 
goes as follows: 

Adam and Eve and Pinch Me 

Went down to the river to bathe. 

Adam and Eve got drownded. 

And who do you think was saved? 

The unwary listener who answers as expected gets 

Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough, and U'illiam of 
Cloudesly An English ballad (Child #110) telling the 
story of three famous outlaws, all marvels in archery, 
and how two of them shot up the town of Caerlcl to save 
the third, William of Cloudesly, from being hanged. 
William had just slipped home from the forest to sec 
his wife and had been caught. The three then forestalled 
higher justice by going to London and securing the 
king's grace before he could hear the news. William of 
Cloudesly is the English William Tell, svlio shot an 
apple from his son’s head. But the English ballad differs 
from the European legend in that Cloudesly undertook 
the shot of his own free will; it was not imposed by the 
king. The first svonder, too, the splitting of the hazel- 
rod with "twenty score paces bctwcnc,” was done only 
to make the people marvel. But the two marvels won 
favor for Cloudesly and his family and his two fellow 
outlaws with the king forever. 

Adam of China The first of China’s legendary kings: 
Fu Hsi. 

Adam’s apple The prominence made by the thyroid 
cartilage in the front of the human throat, conspicuous 
in men: the morsel of forbidden fruit which stuck in 
Adam's throat (A1319.1). 

Adam’s Peak A mountain in Ceylon (native name 
Samanala): site of a rock bearing a depression resembling 
an enormous footprint, and goal of continuous Moslem, 
Hindu, and Buddhist pilgrimage. In Moslem legend, as 
the place where an angel showed Adam all the ills of the 
world, it bears the footprint of Adam. In Buddhist leg- 
end, it is the site of the Sripada or Sacred Footstep of 
Buddha, the imprint of Buddha’s last contact with this 
svorld. The Hindu Saivitc believes it to be the footprint 
of Siva, and a Tamil legend describes how’ rivers flow 
from Siva's foot upon the Peak. Christians worship the 
spot as the footprint of St. Thomas. 

adaox The Tsimshian Indian word for myth, as dis- 
tinguished from matesk, which is either a personal ad- 
venture or historical story. Among the Tsimshian a myth 
is always a story about the past; animals arc the charac- 
ters, speaking and behaving like human beings; many 
arc origin stories (origin of the svorld, of man, the ani- 
mals and their individual characteristics, of various fea- 
tures of the present world, etc.). The malcsk may contain 
supernatural incidents and characters, for the super- 
natural is ever-present in Indian daily life; it may even 
be weighted with religious significance. But no story is 
an adaox or myth unless its setting is that early, mar- 
velous period when the world was entirely different from 
the svorld of the present day. The Ksvakiutl svord for 
myth is nuyatn; Chinook is iklanam; Thompson Indian 
is spctakl. All three make the same distinction. The Salm- 
on-Eater tribe of southern Alaska have the svord 
adaorh which means myth or a true story. An adaorh is 
not only recounted orally, but is illustrated on totem 
poles and represented in other carvings. The great Haida 
and Tsimshian epic about Dzclarlions, revealing the 
migration to America via the Aleutians of the Salmon- 
Eater tribe is a typical adaorh. 

Adapa A mythological Babylonian hero and fisher- 
man of the city of Eridu on the Persian Gulf; son of Ea, 
god of svisdom, by svhom he svas given the gift of great 
knosvlcdgc and intelligence. One day svhilc he was fish- 



to interpret each as representing an aspect of the sun 
during eacli of the twelve months of the year. The most 
ancient concept of the Adityas, however, is the literal 
one: sons of Aditi, inviolable, eternal beings sustaining 
and sustained by the eternal celestial light. 

Adlet A terrible people believed by the Eskimos to be 
descended front a red dog. An Eskimo woman who mar- 
ried a red dog had ten children. Five of them were dogs, 
whom she set adrift in a boat, and five were monsters. 
The dogs drifted across the big sea, landed safely, and 
begot the white men. But the monsters begot worse 
monsters, a cruel, blood-drinking people, called Adlet 
by the Labrador Eskimos and Erqigdlit by the Eskimos 
west of Hudson Bay. The story is also known among the 
Greenland and BalTinland Eskimos. 

Adlivun Literally, those beneath us: the underworld 
of Central Eskimo mythology, where Sedna rules in her 
big house with the big dog at the door. Sedna has no 
deerskins in her house because she dislikes the deer. All 
who disobey her during life must go to Adlivun for one 
year when they die. Murderers can never leave that place 
but the others (in Greenland tradition) eventually reach 
Adliparmiut (literally, those farthest below), a darker, 
remoter, but not quite so dreadful world, where hunters 
may still know the joys of hunting whale and walrus, 
though always enduring terrible storms, winds, snow, 
and ice. Davis Strait tribes believe that the spirit- 
dwellers of Adlivun, called tupilaq, return to their vil- 
lages at times in shabby flapping clothes, as malevolent 
spirits who cause disease and death. But once the soul 
reaches Adliparmiut, it experiences comparative peace 
and need never return. See Qvduvun. 

Admctus King of Fhcrcs in Thessaly, husband of Al- 
cestis, and once unwitting master of Apollo doing pen- 
ance for bloodshed as thrall to a mortal. The kindness 
and the beauty of Admctus soon won the god's admira- 
tion and he did much to prosper the fortunes of his 
master. He discovered that Admctus had only a short 
span of life allotted to him, but secured the promise that 
a longer life would be granted if Admctus could find 
someone to die in his stead. No volunteers rushed for- 
ward as substitutes, not servants, comrades, or aged 
parents. Finally Alcestis offered herself for her husband, 
and at the appointed hour she died. But Hercules, an 
unexpected guest on the funeral day, WTestled with 
Thanatos at the tomb of Alcestis (or with Hades in the 
lower world) and brought her back to Admctus. This 
story is a classic example of the interweaving of common 
folk motifs: death evaded by substitution, and wife 
dying to postpone her husband's death. In a Japanese 
analog of the latter, the devoted wife drowns herself to 
appease the gods and thus prevents them from capsizing 
her husband’s boat. 

adolescence ceremonies Among nearly all primitive 
peoples (North and South American Indians, Australian, 
Polynesian, Melanesian, and Indonesian, the New 
Guinea tribes, all Arctic populations, and all African), 
various ceremonies, often severe and painful, performed 
for and by young boys and girls at the time of puberty 
to initiate them into adulthood and its rights, privi- 
leges, obligations, and responsibilities. All adolescence 
ceremonies are initiation rites. Initiation rites, however, 
are not limited to puberty rites; they usher the indi- 

vidual not only into manhood but into all kinds of 
secret societies, priesthoods, magic powers and mysteries, 
and other holinesses, even into death. 

Adolescence ceremonies arc intended as safeguards 
against the evils and dangers which threaten a youth or 
young girl at this time of lire. They arc considered neces- 
sary, not only for the individual but also for the welfare 
of the tribe. Most ceremonies involve certain purification 
acts and instruction in or preparation for intercourse 
with tlic opposite sex. They usually include a pre- 
liminary period of seclusion, sometimes the imposition 
of complete silence for a period, no contact with the op- 
posite sex, and fasting (total, or from certain foods). 
The importance of dreams and visions is stressed, for 
through them the youth discovers the guardian spirit 
which is to walk with him throughout his life. Severe 
tests (of pain or endeavor) arc imposed to develop 
strength, hardihood, courage, or endurance. Mutilation, 
circumcision, sub-incision, flagellation, tooth-filing, 
knocking out a tooth, flesh-gashing, incision of tribal 
marks, etc., arc regarded either as charms against future 
evils, as purifications, tests of endurance, or are willingly 
undergone to develop courage and endurance. Solitary 
confinement or other isolation, accompanied by terror- 
izing, also often precede final instruction of the youth 
by the old men in tribal lore, sexual knowledge, and 
religions or magical matters. The ritual of death and 
resurrection is also a common puberty initiation rite, 
especially among totcmic peoples. 

Among Malay tribes, the word for adolescence cere- 
monies is masokjnwi, literally admission into the Malay 
people; but they also have another name for it, cliuchi 
taboh, which means purification. Tooth-filing and shav- 
ing off the characteristic top-knot of Malay boys are 
typical features of all Malay adolescence ceremonies. 
The complete ceremony involves purification rites, 
tooth-filing or tapping, head-shaving, appeasing certain 
gods, a huge banquet, and culminates with circumcision, 
which is performed with the ritual bamboo knife in a 
little hut. Girls undergo car-boring, tooth-filing, and 
the staining of the teeth black. Incision is not common 
among the Malays except as a feature of Mohammedan 

Among both North and South American Indians ado- 
lescence ceremonies for boys are often associated with 
the initiation rites which admit them to tribal member- 
ship or introduce them to the mysteries of various secret 
societies. North American Indian girls, however, step 
into womanhood through a complicated pattern of be- 
havior involving seclusion or isolation, food and other 
tabus, looking and contact tabus, symbolic fertilizing, 
and symbolic hairdressing. Ilopi girls go through a four- 
day corn-grinding task in the house of an aunt during 
their ritual which also includes fasting from meat and 
salt, never scratching the head or body with the hand 
but only with a certain stick, and remaining in a shaded 
room until the proper moment to emerge wearing the 
new hairdress which announces to the public that they 
arc marriageable. The Taos girl also grinds corn for 
four days, always protected from the sun. Should the 
sun shine upon her during this period she might bear 
twins after marriage. This fear is possibly related to an 
almost world-wide belief in magical impregnation from 
the sun. She also fasts from salt and "Mexican” food, 
dons the traditional women’s boots; both her dress and 



he, in his sober anger, would have killed her if she had 
not fled and sought the protection of the gods. They 
turned her into a myrrh tree; and from the trunk of a 
myrrh tree Adonis was born. Most of the stories state 
that the bark was ripped open by a wild boar and the 
child came forth. Aphrodite found the infant and, 
charmed by his loveliness, put him in a little chest and 
gave him to Persephone to care for. Persephone too be- 
came enamored of his beauty and later refused to give 
him up. So Zeus decreed that Adonis should spend four 
months of the year with Aphrodite, four with Tele- 
phone in Hades, and four lie might have for himself. 
Later he was killed by the boar while hunting. Another 
variant says that Adonis was brought up by the nymphs, 
that Aphrodite met him while out hunting and fell in 
love with him, and that he was killed by a wild boar 
either sent by, or embodying, the jealous Arcs, Aphro- 
dite's previous lover. The judgment of Zeus in allowing 
him to return to this world for part of every year is the 
Greek variant of the eastern Tammuz resurrection story. 

The trail of the cult is easily followed from Babylonia 
and Syria through Phoenicia and Cyprus into Greece 
where Adonis-worship was well established in the 5th 
century B.C. His worshippers believed that every year 
Adonis was killed by the boar on the mountain and went 
to the underworld; every year his goddess-lover left this 
earth in search of him. While she was absent the earth 
lay scorched under the sun; no passion, no love existed 
between male and female; no living thing bloomed or 
was bom. Every year the women of western Asia and 
Greece mourned the death of Adonis, cast his image into 
the sea along with the little Gardens of Adonis, sang 
the beautiful hymn of hope for his return, and seven 
days later rejoiced for his reappearance on the face of 
the earth when the red anemone bloomed. In Byblos 
in Phoenicia the celebration was timed to coincide with 
the mountain freshets which made the river of Byblos 
run blood-red into the sea. This was believed to be the 
blood of Adonis. The appearance of the red anemone 
in the woods of Syria about the time of Easter symbol- 
ized his return. Thus the whole story was dramatized 
and enacted within the space of about 10 days. Rites at 
Alexandria were similar. At Argos pigs were sacrificed 
to Aphrodite to signify her connection with Adonis. 

The boar had special significance in the Adonis cult. 
The boar ripped open the bark of the tree from which 
Adonis was bom; the boar killed the youth in the forest. 
All the most ancient cults identify the animal that killed 
the god with the god himself. In one of the most primi- 
tive forms of Adonis- (Tammuz-) worship, Adonis him- 
self was the sacred boar, worshipped by a cult of women 
who believed themselves to be sows. Every year the boar 
was killed, tom to shreds, and eaten while the women 
bewailed his death, in a few days celebrating his resur- 
rection with the deification of a new boar. 

One 10th century Arabic writer and several more re- 
cent scholars have suggested that the Adonis-Tammuz 
of the eastern Mediterranean peoples is one with the 
Phoenician com spirit, deliberately slain, his bones 
ground up in a mill and scattered to fertilize the fields. 
In place of the modern com efiigy of the com spirit, the 
most ancient rites quite possibly represented the 
slaughtered god with a human victim whose body was 
divided into portions, buried at intervals in the field, 
and regarded as returned to life svith the harvest. This 

lifts the Adonis story out of the realm of pretty death 
and renewal of vegetation symbolism, and places it not 
only in the simpler and starker category' of hunger and 
fear of hunger rituals, but pushes it still farther into 
that symbolism of the god killed by man for man with 
the resulting mystery of his resurrection promising life 
to man. 

In addition to the fact that Adonis is identified svith 
Tammuz, the death and resurrection motif, linking his 
myth svith s’arious primitive fertility and vegetation 
symbolisms, relates it also to the stories of Persephone, 
of Attis (Phrygian), Osiris (Egyptian), Dionysus-Zagreus 
(Thracian or Cretan), Jesus (Hebrew), Balder (Scandi- 
navian), John Barleycorn (English). His story parallels 
also that of the Celtic Diarmud, svho svas beautiful, 
beloved by svomcn, killed by a svild boar, and gis'en im- 
mortality by a god; but the seasonal vegetation symbol- 
ism seems to be entirely lacking here. Adonis is associ- 
ated svith the Jesus story pattern in the motifs of god in 
human form, death and resurrection of the god, and the 
coincidence of Easter svith both rituals, the long period 
of mourning and fasting, and the moment of joy. Sec 
eating the cod; Linus; Midsummer Eve. 

adoration A Haitian Creole song sung (a) after each 
animal sacrifice at vodun ceremonies, and (b) at thc end 
of thc novena in thc ritual cycle of the cult of thc dead, 
during the singing of svhich the officiating priest re- 
ceives thc offerings of money for his services. 

adultery In Euro-American cultures, usually extra- 
marital heterosexual intercourse, though a more ade- 
quate statement svould refer it to sexual intercourse 
outside of thc permitted sexual group. Thus in group 
marriages as among some Australian tribes each person 
in thc group is generally available to all others though 
local custom may impose restrictions. Among the Tun- 
gusic Manchus the wife of thc oldest brother was avail- 
able to all the younger brothers until the next brother 
married, when she was expected to restrict her atten- 
tions to her husband; but the second brother's wife 
became available to thc other brothers. Among the 
aboriginal Lolos of China marriage to one sister is con- 
sidered as giving access to all thc others. In Islam and 
under thc Roman Lex Julia intercourse was permitted 
between thc master and slaves and servants, and under 
English common law a master had access to his female 
servants. Peoples who regard promiscuity as thc proper 
way of life sometimes consider intercourse outside of 
certain recognized groups as adulterous though it is 
considered harmless within thc recognized groups. 
Some African tribes do not consider intercourse with a 
white man as constituting adultery, though intercourse 
with other members of thc group is so considered. The 
jus primac noctis which gave thc lord of thc manor thc 
right to deflower young wives on his estate on the night 
of their marriage is another ease of recognized latitude. 

Christian cultures have surrounded adultery with re- 
ligious, legal and social prohibitions which give it a 
character not generally known elsewhere. Occidental 
ethnographers have been affected by this bias, though 
no doubt unconsciously, and have hypothesized condi- 
tions in prehistoric cultures about which by definition 
nothing can be known with certainty. By starting with 
one of two opposed hypotheses they prove either that 
man began by living under conditions of absolute pro- 



studied in detail. The nuns in medieval convents tverc 
at one time available to clerics and others who belonged 
to acceptable circles. A certain amount of promiscuity 
has been and in some communities still is connected 
with beliefs about general fertility. In at least one of the 
aboriginal tribes of China an itinerant priest is expected 
to have intercourse once a year with one of the women 
in each community. If the community prospers the act 
is thought to have been performed adequately. The 
community greets the arrival of the priest with festivi- 
ties and there is no reason to assume that the com- 
munity regards the priest as a god in disguise. Here folk 
theology like folk philosophy is less involved than 
anthropologists of the Occidental Christian tradition 
imply. Promiscuity in the spring seems to be a biological 
urge among the Eskimos and others and has been ration- 
alized as necessary to assure the germination of the seeds. 

Views and customs about adultery in Occidental 
Christian communities are complicated by Christian 
mysticism. Roman views were secular rather than re- 
ligious. In 285 B.C. a temple was erected to Venus paid 
for by fines imposed on women for adultery. Cicero says 
that the cult of Vesta was fostered in order that woman- 
kind might feel that it is woman's nature to suffer all 
forms of chastity. Under the Republic sexual misconduct 
was brought before a domestic court or family council. 
The Lex Julia made adultery an offense against the state. 
After the marriage was dissolved the woman lost half 
of her dowry and a third of her estate. The wronged hus- 
band had 60 days to take action and if he failed to do so 
action could be taken by any one who wished to. Al- 
though the punishments of Lex Julia were considered 
severe they did not apply to men equally, a situation 
which Seneca, Plutarch, and others regretted. 

Christ's concern was that men should attain a state of 
mind that made sin abhorrent or impossible. This, as 
developed by Saint Paul, introduced into the Christian 
Occident a mystic view of purity which explains such 
statements as "Adultery is unfaithfulness of a married 
person to the marriage bed,” "defilement of the home,” 
and the like. Customs in the early Christian communi- 
ties were not uniform. The Law of Constantine con- 
demned adulterous wives to banishment. Justinian 
abolished the death penalty and if the wife was not 
taken back within two years she was sent to a nunnery. 
The Code of Theodoric also decreed death for adultery 
and the death penalty was abolished in England under 
Canute. Casar's reports on Anglo-Saxon promiscuity are 
of a general nature. In later England and parts of the 
United States adultery is the only grounds upon which 
a divorce can be obtained. Until very recently some 
Protestant churches would not perform the marriage 
ceremony for divorced persons. The lives of the trouba- 
dours make clear that in the chivalric as well as in both 
earlier and later periods the laws about adultery were 
regarded lightly. According to the chivalric code love 
was not possible between husband and wife and a wife's 
capacity to draw knights and poets to her husband's 
party was important in a young couple's ability to im- 
prove themselves. One evidence that Pcrcival was an 
unmannered boor was his embarrassment at being 
bathed by the young women of the castle. 

Current American views about adultery impose rituals 
and ceremonies as complex as any found among the 
most "primitive" of “primitive” races. Inasmuch as 

adultery is prohibited by social, legal, and religious 
codes married persons impelled to have intercourse with 
those to whom they arc not married must, it they take 
the codes seriously, find reason to have the marriage 
dissolved, and as their own adultery is often not an ac- 
ceptable reason they must adduce the adultery of either 
the wife or husband who may be innocent or find other 
cause which courts will find acceptable. They are then 
permitted, usually after a considerable lapse of time, 
to marry again. The ritual divorce and remarriage is 
thought to give purity to an act which would otherwise 
be considered indecent. 

The laws about adultery do not reflect the folk atti- 
tude toward it. The reports of anthropologists of the 
Etiropean-Christian tradition show bias, to the point 
that one recent study contains a warning that the views 
about adultery being punished with death at some un- 
specified former time must be accepted with caution 
and skepticism. Statistics on the incidence of adultery 
arc unsatisfactory though a paging through of the litera- 
ture on sexual folklore shows that it occurs in all parts 
of the world and though it is considered reprehensible 
by many cultures it has enjoyed a considerable popu- 
larity in all cultures and at all times. R. D. Jamkson 

advice of helpful animal disregarded The motif 
(B311) of a group of stories which emphasize the misfor- 
tunes and disasters that inevitably befall the hero who 
docs or leaves undone something the friendly animal 
has enjoined him either to do or not to do. The typical 
story is that a man meets up with an animal, who, cither 
out of gratitude or admiration, helps him to a marvel- 
ous wife, palace, treasure, station in life, or the like. 
Usually the animal enjoins the hero not to go to a cer- 
tain place, do or say a certain thing, etc., or asks to be 
provided with certain daily foods or attentions, etc. Al- 
ways the hero forgets, wilfully disobeys, or offends by 
ingratitude, and loses everything, including friendship 
with the animal. 

The advice disregarded motif belongs to the helpful 
animal cycle of folktales (B300-599). It is closely related 
to the name tabu motif, and also to the ingratitude 
punished motif which runs through the Puss-in-Boots 
cycle. This advice disregarded motif overlaps and fuses 
markedly with the ingratitude to the animal motif in 
the North American Indian Zufii story in which a little 
flock of turkeys pity a poor, neglected young girl and 
help her to attend the sacred dance, provide her with 
suitable garments, jewels, etc., requiring in return only 
that she not forget or neglect them. She is so popular at 
the dance that of course she forgets the turkeys. When 
she suddenly remembers and rushes home, her fine 
clothes disappear and she is in the same state she was 
in before. Even the turkeys have gone away. 

adykli Among the Buriats, an animal dedicated to a 
god or ongon. The animal is purified with smoke of 
burning juniper, sprinkled with wine, and decorated 
with ribbons of the ongon’s color. It is then returned to 
the herd, never again to be ridden or worked, but is 
associated with and sacred to the ongon cither for a 
specified time or forever. Animals thus dedicated vary 
greatly- The adykh may be a horse, a gray ox, a red ox, 
a raven, a pigeon, even a fish, which of course is hence- 
forth never to be caught. The Mongolian Buddhists 
took over the custom and the idea, dedicating the ani- 



pital) where the priests of the cult applied their secret 
knowledge plus religious rites to effect their cures. The 
most famous temple of Asklepios was in the ancient sea- 
port of Epidaurus. Here the sick came to sleep, to be 
cured by the priests or by the god directly in their 
dreams. Only the dying or women in childbirth were 
denied admittance. 

To this temple at Epidaurus the Romans came, seek- 
ing deliverance from the pestilence that was sweeping 
their city in 293 B.C. The serpent (that serpent in whom 
the god himself was known to abide, angttem in quo 
ipsuni nuinen esse constabat) slipped from the image 
of the god and followed the Romans through the streets 
into their ship. At the mouth of the Tiber he left the 
ship, and the temple to /Esculapius was built on the 
little island where the serpent went ashore. 

The serpent is the symbol of /Esculapius, representing, 
some say, rejuvenation in the sloughing of his skin; the 
staff too is his symbol, representing his wanderings from 
place to place dispensing cures. Both are combined in 
the caduceus, the staff entwined by the snake, still the 
symbol of medicine and the medical profession. 

Aeshma (Pahlavi AHm, Persian XiSm) In Zoroastrian- 
ism, a fiend or demon of lust and outrage: aide of Angra 
Mainyu. Aeshma is the most dreadful of Zoroastrian 
demons, contriving evil for the creatures of Ahura 
Mazda. When he is unsuccessful he stirs up strife among 
the demons themselves. He assails the souls of the dead 
when they near the Chinvat Bridge. Sraosha is assigned 
by Ahura Mazda to keep him under control until the 
final great conflict when Sraosha will destroy Aeshma. 

tesir (singular as) The Teutonic gods. Odin was chief 
of them, known frequently as the father of the gods. 
His sons Thor, Balder, Tyr, Vali, Vidar, Hodcr, Bragi, 
and Hermod, and his brothers Vili and Ve were also 
scsir. Frigga, Odin's wife, and 18 other goddesses or 
isynjur, among them Sif, wife of Thor, Nanna. wife of 
Balder, Iduna, wife of Bragi, etc., also belonged to the 
group. Loki, the evil one, the mischief-maker, is one of 
the msir. Their habitat was Asgard, though each had his 
own home also. Odin’s was the famous Valhalla. They 
were an organized, judicial community and the council 
met daily under Yggdrasil. Some sources mention among 
the acsir the names of Hcenir, Forseti, Oiler or Ullr, and 
Ing, an interesting deity of the East Danes, who disap- 
peared eastward over the sea. Compare vanir. 

/Esop The vague personage whose name is associ- 
ated with the most famous group of fables in the world. 
He was born in the Greek island of Samos, in Sardis 
in Lydia, Mesembria in Thrace, or Cotiocum in Phrygia. 
His birth is thought to have been about 620 B.C.. his 
death about 5G4 B.C. Herodotus identifies him in 
Samos about 570 B.C. Further legend says that he was 
the slave of two different masters in Samos: first Xanthos, 
then Iadmon, who freed him out of admiration for his 
wit. /Esop then visited Croesus at Sardis and Pisistratus 
at Athens. Plutarch’s Symposium of the Seven Sages 
reports that /Esop was a guest at the court of Croesus 
along with the seven sages of Greece, and that Croesus 
not only said, "The Phrygian has spoken better than 
all," but even persuaded /Esop to remain in Sardis and 
execute for him many difficult matters. Later Croesus 
sent him to Delphi to distribute a great sum of money 

among the citizens. /Esop was so disgusted and in- 
furiated with the wrangling that arose among them that 
he refused to give it. "Unworthy,” he called them, and 
they threw him over a high cliff. Such a plague subse- 
quently swept through their city that they advertised 
a sum of money to atone for the murder of /Esop. 
Iadmon, grandson of Iadmon, his former master, went 
to receive it. 

Perhaps the most famous of the many folktales about 
.Esop are how he told the story of The Frogs Ashing for 
a King in the public place in Athens and thus saved 
Pisistratus from being overthrown by the populace; and 
how he went to a neighbor's house one day to borrow 
fire and carried it home in a lantern. The passer-by who 
asked him what he was looking for with a lantern in 
the daytime received the answer, “A man who will mind 
his own business.” 

/Esop’s Fables The famous collection of fables 
ascribed to /Esop. Although they come to us now in 
literary form, they are generally conceded to be not only 
of folk origin, but to have been current among the folk 
in Greece during /Esop’s lifetime. In answer to the theory 
advanced by Benfey and others that /Esop is innocent 
of responsibility for them, we have only the certainty 
that they were linked with his name in Athens, that 
Herodotus, less than a century after /Esop’s death, men- 
tions him with definiteness, that Aristophanes mentions 
both /Esop and his "drolleries,” that Aristotle and 
Lucian cite /Esop’s story- of the wisdom of the bull in 
having honis upon his head instead of on his shoulders, 
that Socrates versified some of /Esop’s fables, and that 
they were praised, as /Esop’s, by Plato. 

Concerning their oriental origin, out of the whole 
number extant (something between 231 and 256) only 
one fourth can be directly traced to India. Thirteen of 
them arc identified with certain “Stories of the Past" 
in the Jatakas, among them The Wolf and the Lamb, 
The Ass in Lion’s Skin, The Fox and the Raven, The 
Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs. Among a few obvious 
parallels to stories in the Mahubharata are The Lion 
and the Mouse, The Belly and the Members, The 
Farmer and the Serpent, The Two Pots, and The Cat 
Turned into Maiden. All the rest are believed to have 
been folk fables of Greece and are associated with /Esop 
as preserver, adapter, and hander-on. That some clever 
mind used and adapted traditional material is strikingly 
shown in the religious and political applications of the 

Many anecdotes exist pointing up such application. 
The fable of The Wolf and the Crane is said to have 
been used by a Rabbi ben Hananiah to prevent the Jews 
from rising against the Romans. KrilofI used them to 
needle the Russian bureaucracy. And the first transla- 
tion of /Esop into Chinese was immediately suppressed 
by sensitive officials who suspected them of local author- 

Demetrius Phalereus made the first collection of 
/ Esop's Fables and “put them in a book” about 300 B.C., 
which though lost, is said to be the basis for the famous 
collection by Pha:drus. Babrius, the Roman poet, versi- 
fied them in the 3rd century A.D. Phxdrus translated 42 
of them into Latin elegiacs in the 1st century A.D. This 
is usually considered the most celebrated of the collec- 
tions. In the 9th century Ignatius Diaconus put 53 of 



them into verse. Maximus Planudcs, a 15th century 
monk, collected 144 of the fables, including ccrta.n 
oriental and Hebraic additions and a life of T-sop, and 
published them at Milan about 1480 along with Ranu- 
zio's 100 Fabula /Esopicrc. This was published again 
in Paris in 1540 with a few additional fables. There was 
a Heidelberg edition in 1010 containing 130 fables in 
imitation of the Babrius rendering. These were followed 
by various collections of more or fewer fables published 
in Oxford and Leipzig, 1718-1820. A11 of the fables, 231 
to date, were arranged and published by J. G. Schneider 
at Breslau in 1810. The numbering system for the fables 
adopted here follows that of Joseph Jacobs' The Fables 
of / Esop (New York, 1894). 

aes or aos side People of the mounds, or slice 
folk”: the ancient Irish Tuatha He Danann. or people 
of the goddess Danu, the ancient Irish gods, who took up 
their abode in the hills and mounds (side) of Ireland 
after their defeat by the Milesians: now the fairies of 
contemporary Irish folklore. Compare daoine stun. 

Afreketc A goddess of Dahomey religion; youngest 
child of Agbi and Nadte of the Sea pantheon, and 
guardian of the treasures of the sea. She appears also 
in the role of clever, undisciplined trickster in some of 
the myths. Afreketc has the reputation of being a great 
gossip and teller of secrets; those who represent her in 
the dance hold a finger to their lips. The dance of her 
possession resembles that of Lcgba. 

African and New World Negro folklore Negro folk- 
lore is told today throughout Negro Africa, south of the 
Sahara, as well as in the regions of North America, the 
West Indies, and South America where descendants of 
African slaves arc found. Two striking characteristics of 
this body of tradition — its present wide distribution 
and its remarkable toughness — can be appreciated only 
in terms of its history. Surviving the drastic social 
changes that accompanied the forceful transplanting of 
African peoples into slavery on a strange continent. 
Negro folklore has persisted in the New World as a 
well-defined and basically homogeneous emits regard- 
less of the folklore, culture, and language of the domi- 
nant groups, whether English, French, Spanish. Portu- 
guese, Dutch, or American. Many elements from these 
European groups have been incorporated into the folk- 
lore told today by Negroes in the New World; however, 
as the term Negro folklore is used in this article, it indi- 
cates only those items which have African origin. 

The wealth of Negro folklore is no less impressive 
than its persistence. Struck has estimated the number of 
African folktales at nearly a quarter of a million. Klipplc 
estimates that five thousand different African myths and 
tales have actually been published, although her bibli- 
ography, prepared in 1938, contains references to nine 
thousand. If publications from the New World arc in- 
cluded this number is considerably increased. Yet in 
reality only a beginning has been made at recording 
Negro folklore. Among the thousands of tribes in Africa, 
there is not a single one for which a complete collection 
of myths and tales has been published. Published collec- 
tions of more than two hundred talcs arc almost un- 
heard of, although the number of talcs known to single 
tribes undoubtedly runs into thousands. 

Numerically at least, the position is better with re- 

spect to proverbs, but some of the largest African co! 
lections have not been translated and others are almos 
certainly incomplete. Doke explicitly denies any claim J 
the completeness of his well-known collection of ] ©• 
Laniba proverbs from Northern Rhodesia: "Lamba prow 
erbs seem to be without number. Since putting together 
the present collection 1 have gathered another two hun- 
dred without any effort on rny part; and a further num- 
ber has been laid aside owing to lack of confirmation 
Mulckclcla, the Lamba story-teller, supplied nic in the 
first place with more than half of these aphorisms; he 
has a wonderful mine of this lore, and one day reeled oil 
as many as 250 at a single sitting." The largest collection 
from a single African tribe is still that of 3.G00 Ashanti 
(Twi) proverbs from the Gold Coast, edited by Chris- 
taller in 1895, of which 830 have been translated by 
Rattray. I'or the Ncsv World, the largest collection is 
Beckwith’s 972 proverbs from Jamaica. 

In addition to myths, legends, folktales (marchcn) and 
proverbs, which have received the most attention, there 
arc several other forms of "unwritten literature" in 
Africa anti the New World. The verses or lyrics of songs 
are, of course, found in great numbers in all Negro 
cultures, as arc riddles. Tongue twisters and praise name 
also seem to have a wide distribution. A variety of other 
set verbal formula: are also widely found in Africa, al- 
though they arc seldom included in collections of folk- 
lore. The Yoruba, for example, distinguish between 
myths and legends (itan) which they regard as histori- 
cally true, folktales (alp apagbe), riddles (alp), proverbs 
(osve), songs (orin), praise names (orile), curses or in- 
cantations (pfp), and the Ifa divining verses (ysp). 
Folktales Of all Negro folklore, the Uncle Remus 
stories published by Joel Chandler Harris arc probably 
the most widely known. Animal trickster talcs of the 
same type arc common in other parts of the New World 
and in Africa. In Unde Remus, Brc’r Rabbit is the out- 
standing trickster while Hare or Little Hare appears in 
this role in East Africa and among the Jukun and 
Angass of Nigeria. Tortoise, who is the primary trickster 
among the Yoruba, Edo, and I bo or Nigeria and is found 
as a trickster of secondary importance in many parts of 
West Africa and in East Africa, is the primary trickster 
in Cuba. Spider, the animal trickster in Liberia, Siena 
Leone, and the Gold Coast, is known by his Twi name, 
Anansi, in Jamaica and Dutch Guiana and is referred to 
as Aunt Nancy by the Gullali of South Carolina. 

Because of the fame of Uncle Remus, animal stories 
have come to be regarded as the typical Negro folktales. 
The larger published collections, however, indicate the 
importance of human-trickster, and divine-trickster, 
and other non-animal tales such as those about Hlakan- 
yana among the Zulu. From West Africa a cycle of 
Dahomcan talcs collected by M. and F. Ilcrskovits centers 
about Yo, described as a "trickster of gross undisciplined 
appetite.” Among the Yoruba, the deity Eshu often 
appears in talcs in a role similar to that of Tortoise, and 
the part played by Orunmila or Ifa, the deity associated 
with divination, does not differ markedly. 

Tricksters Of the many incidents involving trick- 
sters, several arc widely distributed in both Africa and 
the New World. The trickster feigns illness or fatigue 
in order to ride a powerful and important animal as if 
it were his horse. He stations his relatives along the 
course so that he always appears ahead in a race with a 



swifter animal. He challenges two giant animals to a 
tug-of-war, which he arranges so that they pull against 
each other without knowing it. He escapes death through 
counter-suggestion, as when Tortoise begs those about 
to kill him not to throw him in the water. One by one, 
he devours the children of a larger animal by posing as 
their nurse or governess. He borrows from a series of 
animals, arranging his payments so that each animal 
who comes to collect is killed in turn by a stronger 
creditor, and tricks the last one into canceling the debt. 
He pretends to cook himself to feed a guest; his guest 
dies in trying to imitate him. He induces another animal 
to throw his food into the water, smear his face with 
birdlime, jump into a fire, remain in a burning hut, kill 
his wife or mother, drive a red-hot nail into his head, or 
cut off his head or leg. The trickster himself, however, 
is by no means infallible or immune to tricks, as wit- 
ness the most widely distributed story of this type. Tar 

The difference between the European and African 
interpretations of the “Tortoise and the Hare” reveals 
the distinctive characteristics of the African trickster, 
yyhere the European Tortoise wins through dogged per- 
sistence while his rival sleeps, his African counterpart 
uses his wits. Clever, shrewd and unscrupulous, in com- 
mon with tricksters all over the world, in Negro folk- 
tales he is invariably the underdog, apparently at the 
mercy of his larger and stronger associates. The triumph 
of brain over brawn and of brilliance over steadiness — 
the reverse of the European grasshopper-ant fable — is 
the consistent theme of the Negro trickster tale. Its 
prevalence in the New World has been interpreted as a 
psychological reaction to slavery, but this explanation 
does not account for its importance in African folklore. 

To Spider, the Temne ascribe the qualities of "cun- 
ning, sleeplessness, almost immortality, an unlimited 
capacity for eating and an equal genius for procuring 
necessary supplies.” Spider, who appears to be the 
Temne national hero, is shrewd, designing, selfish, and 
at times vindictive and cruel, while their secondary 
trickster, Cunnie Rabbit (actually a chevrotain) is in- 
telligent and loveable. As foils for these two, Elephant is 

aormously strong but lacking in mental acuteness, 
while Deer is consistently stupid and helpless. It is not 
difficult to appreciate the psychological satisfaction to 
audience and narrator that comes from identification 
with a trickster who symbolizes freedom from physical 
limitations and moral restraints. 

Tales in which the trickster escapes an impossible 
obligation by posing an equally impossible condition 
point up and illustrate a traditional right to contest an 
unjust display of authority, revealing a significant aspect 
of the attitudes of Africans toward their chiefs. Among 
the Kru, when Nymo is commanded by the king to 
weave a mat from rice grains, he asks for an old mat of 
the same kind to use as a pattern. Among the Ganda, 
a person ordered by the king to fashion a living human 
being, requests a thousand loads of charcoal made from 
human hair and a hundred pots of tears, to use for 
materials. In Zanzibar when ICibunwasi is challenged by 
the Sultan to build a very' high house in one day, he 
invites the ruler to ascend a kite-string to see how the 
work is progressing. When the Sultan asks “How can a 
man climb a string?” he counters, “How can a man 
build a high house in a day?” Other examples are en- 

countered in connection with the tests set for prospective 
sons-in-law. Among the Bulu of the Cameroons, when 
Tortoise is asked to fetch water in a basket, he asks his 
future father-in-law for a carrying-strap of smoke. 
Non-trickster tales While trickster tales are com- 
mon and widely known, many folktales do not involve 
tricksters. A common example is the story in which a 
vegetable or animal agrees to become the child of a 
barren woman on condition that its antecedents are 
never mentioned, and returns to its former shape when 
the bargain is broken. Similar is the theme of the meta- 
morphosed wife or husband. A number of ogre tales, 
involving neither tricksters nor animals, conclude with 
the killing and opening of the ogre and the rescue of the 
victims he has eaten. In another tale, a person finds a 
pot that produces food whenever a certain magic pass- 
word is given and then loses it; -when he returns to the 
place where it was found, he receives a stick and, on 
pronouncing the password, is severely beaten. A de- 
serving person obtains wealth from a supernatural 
source, while a jealous imitator receives snakes, wild 
beasts, and insects. A variant of this theme appears in 
the Hausa tale where a jealous woman, whose co-wife’s 
dead child has been resurrected, kills her own daughter 
in the hope that she will be restored in a less ugly form, 
but gets only half a girl, with one eye, one arm and 
one leg. 

A group of unfinished tales leaves the audience pre- 
sented with dilemmas. A dilemma tale from the Bura of 
Nigeria, for example, describes a blind man whose 
mother, wife, and mother-in-law are also blind. When he 
finds seven eyes, should he leave his mother-in-law with 
only one eye and be “ashamed" before her and his wife 
all his life, or should he deprive his mother? As in the 
case of Stockton’s “The Lady or the Tiger,” no solution 
is suggested. 

Tall tales are relatively rare in African literature, 
but several have been published by Frobenius and Fox, 
one of which contains the following incident; As a man 
shot an arrow at an antelope, his companion jumped up, 
ran to the animal, killed it, skinned it, butchered it, 
packed it away, caught the arrow in flight, and asked, 
"Are you trying to shoot a hole in my knapsack?” 

In one Hausa tale, a combination of the two types is 
effected. A chief tells his three sons to mount their horses 
and prove their skill. The eldest charges at a baobab 
tree, thrusts his spear through it, and jumps through 
the hole with his horse. The second lifts his horse up 
by the bit and jumps over the top of the baobab. The 
youngest pulls up the baobab tree by the roots and rides 
up to his father, waving it aloft. The story-teller con- 
cludes with "Now I ask you who excelled among them? 
If you do not know, that is all.” 

Cycles Negro folktales often occur in cycles. For ex- 
ample, a narrator may begin his tale with a reference 
to a situation from which the trickster had just ex- 
tricated himself. The cycles usually involve a central 
character, such as an animal-trickster, or the Dahomean 
Yo. Other cycles center about the adventures of twins, 
orphans, or precocious children. 

The existence of cycles may explain the attempts of 
some students to read into African folktales a con- 
sistency and continuity there is no reason to expect. The 
appearance of one animal in the role of another, or the 
existence of several tales accounting for the death of the 


same trickster in different tvays, need cause no concern. 
Among tlie American Indians, where more variants hare 
been recorded, it has become evident that even within 
a single tribe a search for the "correct” version of a par- 
ticular talc is artificial and unrealistic. Junod lias shown 
that this is also true for Africa in his discussion of the 
sequence of episodes in Thonga folktales, where, al- 
though these form definite cycles, it is rare to hear two 
narratives follow exactly the same order.” and "the 
tricks of the Hare are sometimes attributed to tiie 
Small Toad.” 

The manner in which a different twist maybe given to 
a story by a slight alteration in a familiar plot comes as 
no surprise if tile folktale is viewed as a form of verbal 
art, and if the story-teller is credited with something of 
the creative imagination of the noiclist. Variation is dis- 
concerting only if one assumes that the only well-told 
tale is one memorized and recited word for word. Studies 
of the art of story-telling that take into account tlic 
creative role of the raconteur, such as those which have 
shown such promise in the field of American Indian folk- 
lore, will not be possible for Africa until variants have 
been systematically recorded and published. 

Collections of Negro folktales usually sutler from the 
suppression, deliberate or unintentional, ol non-animal 
talcs regarded as atypical or non-Negro, of variants con- 
sidered inaccurate, and of "dirty stories.” Cronise and 
Ward, for example, assert that "Evidence was occasion- 
ally found of the existence of another class of stories such 
as the missionary would not care to hear or to record." 
Legends Many Negro stories Sail into tlic categories 
of legend and myth, both of which differ from the folk- 
tale in that they arc looked upon as historically true. 
Reminiscences and personal anecdotes often conform 
so closely to patterns of folklore that they may he con- 
sidered legends. In the New World there arc legends of 
life in "slavery time," of slave uprisings and suicides, of 
the emancipation, anti of floods, cyclones, [amines, and 
other disasters. In South Africa legends stealing with 
tribal migrations are numerous, while in West Africa 
the succession of chiefs, the establishment of ruling 
houses, the sequence of tribal tears, and accounts of other 
events arc related at length. 

Tribal histories of ibis type arc valuable sources ol 
information where written documents arc inadequate, 
and in many cases they contain no more fantasy than 
our own elementary history textbooks. But while they 
may refer to actual historical events, these accounts arc 
handed down in the same way as folktales and myths, 
and in the course of time have assumed the character of 
folklore. Traditions of this sort cannot be accepted un- 
reservedly as accurate statements of fact. That caution 
is necessary should be evident from studies of the growth 
of legends about individuals in Europe or America 
where historical documentation is available, and from 
the comparison of American Indian accounts of tribal 
origin and migration with archeological evidence. 
Myths Accounts of the activities of the gods and of 
the origins of natural phenomena appr.-- • to be espe- 
cially important in West Africa where a Iirge bod}’ of 
mythology has been recorded. There arc no comparable 
collections of myths from the southeastern Bantu, but 
Werner has been able to demonstrate the existence of 
mythology throughout Africa, turning to analyses of 
African religion where the literature on folklore was 


deficient. The gaps in tlic literature arc unden tandayT 
since African myths arc regarded as sacred 3 „<i 0 , 
esoteric. Frequently, atonement must be oficrcd bcf 0 > 
a myth may lie told. In some tribes the knowledge of" ' 
family’s totemie myths is believed to give to the lnc !K 1 
posset of life or death over its members; in such 
an informant’s refusal to tell myths to an outside, •„ 
not surprising. 

In the New- World informants may be reluctant to tell 
myths of African origin because of the fear of ridicule b- 
“progressive" groups or because African cults arc pro- 
scribed by law. Stories about African deities have stir, 
vised in recognizable form in Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, anj 
Hutch Guiana, where their African names have bo- 
retained. Tlic identification of African deities witf 
Catholic saints, such as the Yoruba thunder god, Shann 
with Santa Barbara, is a common phenomenon. Fror 
the opposite point of view, the reinterpretation of Chris 
tian mythology can he seen in the Sea Island versions o 
Bilde stories collected by Stoncy and Shelby. 
Explanatory Elements Explanatory elements are ooa 
won in folktales, myths, and legends, although there i 
considerable variation from one group to another i 
their use. For example, etiological talcs are comae 
among the Ila but infrequent among tlic Lamba ; 
East Africa: in West Africa the same is true of th 
Ashanti as compared to the Hausa. In some tribes it j 
not considered necessary to stale the explanation as 
explicitly as "That is lion- the tortoise got his shell* 
or "Since then the leopard lives in the forest." Simi- 
larly. while many Negro talcs illustrate the txmsrqucntcs 
of good and had behavior, the moral is not always ex- 
plicitly stated. 

Proverbs Wiicn the moral precepts of folktales are 
pointed up, this is usually done by concluding the tale 
with a proverb which sums up its philosophical implia- 
lions. The meaning of a proverb, in fact, may be derived 
from a folktale in which it occurs, and may be explained 
to a stranger by reciting the folktale at length. More- 
over, proverbs may be quoted by characters in folk- 
tales in the course of dialog. This leads to proverbs 
of the following tspe: "Sandpiper says: An orphan does 
not have great desires,” or “Chicken says: Wc follow the 
one who has something.” 

The foregoing J abo proverbs illustrate a form of state- 
ment typical of Liberia, but found in other parts of 
Africa and the New World as well. Thus, the Dutch 
Guiana proverb, ’’Koni-Koni says: ISTicn there is no 
more land, there remain the holes in the trees" Koni- 
Koni is "a rabbitlike animal” to be compared with 
Cunnic Rabbit of Sierra Leone, although the name in 
both eases is undoubtedly derived from the English 
"coney.” Other typical proverb forms include those 
which begin "One docs not . . and "No matter how 
. . .” and the balanced forms "If , . ., then . . 

" Where . . there . , “Wc . . but wc do not 
. . and their variants. 

The piquancy of some proverbs can be appreciated 
without reference to tlicir cultural context, as in the fol- 
lowing Voruba examples: "One docs not set fire to the 
roof and then go to bed”; "The world is in a bad way 
when an egg falls and breaks tlic bowl"; "No matter how 
sweet the journey, the householder returns home”! “No 
matter how small the needle, a chicken cannot swallow 
it”; "The flood spoils tlic road; it thinks it is renewing 



it"; "The chicken alights on a rope; the rope doesn't 
get any rest, and the chicken doesn't get any rest"; “lie 
who runs and hides in the hush is not doing it for noth- 
ing; if l>c is not chasing something, sve know that some- 
thing is chasing him"; “One does not become so mad at 
his head Oral he wears his hat on his bullocks." 

Kiddles Negro riddles ate commonly stated in the form 
of declarative sentences rather than questions; [hits, a 
stranger sometimes does not realize what he is ex- 
pected to guess. In the following Yoruha riddles, the 
implied question is "Who is he?": “They cut oir his 
head; they cut off his waist; his stump jays he will call 
the town together." "They tell him to sit beside the fire, 
he sits beside the fire; they tell him to sit in the sun, he 
sits in the sun; they tell him to wash, he says. 'Death 
comes'." In some Yoruha riddles a proper name with no 
meaning is given to the character whose identity is to 
be guessed. "I look here; I look there: I don't see my 
mother, Odeic" “Elephant dies, Mangudn cats him; 
bnfTalo dies. Mangudn cats him; Mangudn dies, there is 
no one who wants to cat him." The answers to these four 
riddles, drum, salt, car, and cooking pot, might be 
guessed by strangers. Some riddles, like some proverbs, 
however, assume a knowledge of Yoruha institutions or 
artifacts, while others arc based on puns and cannot be 
answered without knowledge of the language. 

Verbal formula- Negroes employ a variety of set verbal 
formula- including spells, curses, incantations, blessings, 
invocations, prayers, greetings, passwords, and the like, 
which are stable in form and recited verbatim. Some, 
such as the passwords of the Yoruha Ogboni society or 
the secret formula: taught to boys in the East African 
circumcision and initiation rites, are esoteric. All differ 
in form of expression from ordinary speech or conversa- 
tion. They fall, no less than riddles or proverbs, within 
the more precise definition of folklore as verbal art, 
which would exclude the religious beliefs and social 
customs with which they arc associated, except in so far 
as study of these is necessary to understand their mean- 
ing and to describe the situations in which they arc 

Examples of set verbal formula: arc more often to be 
found in descriptions of African religion and social life 
than in collections of folklore, and their analysis from 
a stylistic or literary point of view lias been neglected in 
favor of the social or religious customs in which they arc 
imbedded. A plausible explanation of their neglect by 
folklorists would seem to be that their translation is 
often extremely difficult, and that even when individual 
words or sentences arc understood, no coherent mean- 
ing may be recognized and the idea expressed may still 
be obscure. For example, a magical incantation that has 
no meaning may still work and often, even when an 
archaic or esoteric meaning is involved in a formula, it 
need not be understood by the person who recites it. 
Neither comprehension nor communication of meaning 
is essential for these forms so long as they arc recited 
accurately and at the appropriate times. By this char- 
acteristic the verbal formula:, like the tongue twisters 
and praise names, arc set completely apart from prov- 
erbs, riddles, myths, legends, and folktales in all of 
which the desire to convey an idea is of primary im- 
portance. Tongue twisters arc found throughout the 
area of Negro folklore, but few have been recorded, 
possibly because they lose effect in translation. 

I’rahr names l’raise names, which ate known as kirari 
among the 1 lausa, mi hi among the Yoruha, and isil/ongo 
among the Zulu, arc recited in honoi of chiefs, important 
individuals, sibs, tribes, deities, animals, and inanimate 
objects. Personal characteristics or individual achieve- 
ments are recounted in highly stylized fonn and often 
in atchaic language. z\ person of exceptional importance 
among the Yoruha may have a scries of praise names, one 
of which is played to him by the driunmeis and is re- 
ferred to as his "drums" (ilu). Not infrequently proverbs 
ate employed as Yoruha praise names, and among the 
Hama the kirari of animals are sometimes encountered 
in dialog in the folktales. The butterfly is addressed 
in Hausa as "Oh Glistening One, Oh Book of God, Oh 
Learned One open your book." The lion is “Oh Strong 
One, Elder Brother of the Forest." The dog's kirari refers 
to the beatings he receives, to the belief that a prayer 
will not be heeded if his shadow* falls on one who is 
praying, to his thinness and other characteristics: "Oh 
15og. your breakfast is a club, your /urn a stick. Oh Dog, 
you spoil a prayer, you arc Hyena’s perquisite, your 
ribs are like the plaits in a grass mat, your tail is like 
a roll of tobacco, your nose is always moist.” 

Songs Songs, of which words rather than music fall 
within the realm of folklore (considered as verbal art), 
arc included in many African and New World Negro 
folktales. The verses of ceremonial songs, used to “call 
the gods" and for other ritual purposes, have much in 
common with spells and incantations, and ss-hat has been 
said about them also applies here. A third type of song 
of gieat importance in both sections of the Negro world 
is the topical song of current events used to spread news 
and gossip, and employed at times in a kind of black- 
mail. Composed in terms of African verification, these 
songs, even when created in European tongues as in the 
case of calypsos of Trinidad, the songs of allusion of 
Haiti, or the Elenas of Puerto Rico, frequently ignore 
rime in favor of prosodic rhythms. Many blues songs of 
the United States fall within the same general category. 

Improvised sometimes by amateurs, sometimes by pro- 
fessionals, the topical songs have been known to persist 
for generations when they commemorate some historic 
event or when they treat with some incident of lasting 
interest. Thus, songs referring to battles of the 18th 
century aic still current in Nigeria, just as calypsos svcrc 
composed in Trinidad deriding certain slave overseers 
or commemorating the first visits of The Graf Zeppelin 
or The Duke and Duchess of Kent. Songs denouncing 
the infidelity of a sweetheart, or perhaps the injustice of 
a law-court, arc composed constantly, following tradi- 
tional patterns, and after brief periods of popularity 
arc usually supplanted by others of the same variety. 

Spirituals, a widely discussed but relatively unim- 
portant form, arc a blend of European and African 
motifs, deriving their distinctive features from the 
African musical phrasing they employ. Work songs of 
the Negro of the New World follow close on African 
patterns in both svords and music. Ring-shouts, com- 
mon to church parties in the South of the United 
States, also show African musical and verse structure, as 
do the Afro-Cuban popular songs. 

Consideration of songs has been sketchy in most dis- 
cussions of Negro folklore and documentary material has 
only recently become available on phonograph records, 
notable among which arc the albums issued by the 


. ~ ~ onIl (o-n-, the tilt'll, incantations ami other set verbs! ferns’. 

' '■ ‘ ‘ Y^'. is-’-tin; in Negro folklore nothing to do with amusement. Each has i;< Cl 'i. 

:h->~ t..c 

of t? e trouu. 

.four's in European 

jW.orc in T>i:V.!'he<S collection* 
]„1’ >*- ; sm-rding to fc-rn:. studied in terms of 

' ,, -iuo'. and analtzed in terete of the 

j. 'Nj . -:i of «pcv:f.c incident*. proverb*. and 

t! ni-'Reto:.:- i levs 1: meter. axe onh the fleshle**. 
b'-.-.fl-.-'i'.rlrF rti of a form of art that is alive and 
vitri x, the' arc verba! rather than written. all 
f > rf foiu .1 e enqt cox of the react spells toed 
in i.l. ti mzgu. intohe both the reaction* of the audi- 
cr;e an 1 th- r« -le of expiation of the speaker. The 
situation* in which folktales arc told or in 
vludi pri-'Ctb* arc quoted arc c**entra! parts of folk- 
lore Eclated to this Is t!;c problem of the functions of 
the \a<:out hums of folklore. the ends then sene, and 
the tors to whuh thes arc put. 

Reading h Iktalfs i* perhaps c\cn less *ati*factory than 
rra-litv; a plat instead of seeing it. Equivalents of inter- 
pirtive instructions to the actors are not indicated and 
stage directions are tnuallt omitted. Moicotcr. the 
mustral parisi ipation of the audience that adds so much 
ti> Negro folktales mat lie impossible to put into words, 
am! is common!' not ctcti indicated. Listeners mav 
ttplt to direst questions fiotn the Mon-- teller or inter- 
ject espres'ions of a<*etu and approial to encourage 
him. More characteristic, and e'en more effective, is the 
response of the audience sthen the' take up the chorus 
of a song, clapping their hands to beat out the rhythm. 
To mans audiences the songs that stud Negro folktales 
in both Africa and the New World arc more important 
than the tales thcmscltc*. If a Voruba narrator attempts 
to cut short a f.norite song his audience protests. Kacli 
time the «ong apjicars he must wait until his audience 
it read; before he can lenitnc his stort. Repetition in 
Negro folktales, stluch mat strike Europeans or Amer- 
icans as monotonous, is sometimes explained by the its of a tnchxlt rather than lit any element of 
tfic »iory it<clf. A good sum- teller creates additional 
occasions for well-liked songs. He lengthens or shortens 
his tales depending on the reaction of his audience, in 
the '.line i> at that he rearranges familiar plots and char- 
acters. l or this reason tales heard in their actual selling 
mav l«r considerably at variance with texts set down 
n bile stinking alone with an informant. 

The Negus story-teller combines the art of actor with 
that of dramatist. From all parts of Africa and the New 
World hate come desaiptions of his dramatic liming, 
his cxptrs'itctiess. and his virtuosity in acting out the 

lion and setting, indicated by its name. The .. 
of certain types of songs, such as lullabie*. 
scork and scar songs. 

Songs, myths, and verbal formula- mat fv 

parts of social or religious ceremonies. M<q . ...' 
legends, as sanctions of custom, are foundatinr.v '. 
tural stability, When a ritual, a social di<tinctivi . ... 
accepted behavior pattern is questioned, these i*i . 
a familiar myth or legend to explain how it our. er- 
rs proterb to show its wisdom, or a moral tale v > t 
shoscs. for example, what happens to those v.;.-, ... 
greedy or who disregard their totcmic talxxts. 

A special, but none the less rescaling, example r! 

is found in the Ifa divining verses of Nigeria, lie'- , 

and Cuba. These verses usually begin vtiih j 
interpreted as diviners’ praise names. Mant of tfeei •; 
comit hotv that individual prospered who made a *>-.■■ 
ficc presaibed by the diviner, or how one stho irf-.-y 
to saaiFice snlferetl. These accounts are in a form td.-d. 
tinder other circumstances, would he recognized at 'A. 
tales and myths; here, however, they are incunvstj-.ri 
as integral parts of the verses and of the divining riturl 
itself. The Ifa verses demonstrate that folktales, no l:- 
than myths or sacrctl songs, may be essential pant <; 
religious ceremonies, with a function quite distinct free; 
amusement. Many of the talcs, furthermore, arc etio- 
logical, with explanatory elements of the usual "jims-t* 
tvpcs based on whether the sacrifices were or were r.: 
offered. By reciting tales, many of which hate the sac.; 
moral, the disiner strengthens his client's belief in t 
efficacy of saaifice and divination, with well-known fata 
of nature often cited as proof of the truth of the seres 
Functions of proi-crbs Negro proverbs constitute oneef 
the most potent factors for individual conformity ar.l 
cultural continuity. In West .Africa proverbs arc cited in 
court trials in much the same way that European hi, -yen 
cite cases which serve as legal precedent. Where quo 
tions of equity rather than fact arc concerned, quotir; 
an especially apt proverb at the appropriate momest 
may be enough to decide the ease. 

Proverbs arc constantly being used to influence tit* 
behavior of others and as instruments of self-control. 
The Chnga, who say that proverbs "strike like arttw 
into the heart." resist the suggestions of evil comrado 
and the temptations of their own desires when a proverb 
is called to mind. The same proverb that may he used 
to criticize the actions of an enemy or rival mav be 
quoted by a friend as kindly advice. The proterb of tit: 
flood and road cited above can be used either in criticism 

various roles, altering his voice and cmploting panto- 
mime to mimic each character in turn. In Ixilh Africa 
am! the New World, folktales arc told at night, heighten- 
ing the fantasy and adding to the effectiveness of the 
dramatic techniques employed by the story-teller. Ses- 
sions of story -telling commonly begin with riddles before 
the younger children fall ndeep, and on ccitain nights, 
"hen the moon is full or a s.akc is being held, thev mav 
last late into the night. It is widely felt that folktales are 
thr qweial domain o! the spirits of the dead, and that 
■ tort-telling during the day still l>e punished. 

Although it has long been recognize. ,nat folklore is 
-a favorite form of amusement, its otiicr functions have 
inuallt Ken disregarded. Braise names, passwords. 

or ridicule of someone who thinks fie is helping hut •' 
only making matters worse, or quoted to him as friendly 
advice to leave the matter alone. Tfiat of the chicken and 
the rope is used to chide a person who has jumped “cat 
of the frying pan into the fire.” or as a friendly wantini 
to "Kook before you leap.” 

A typical use of Negro proverbs is for derision or 
defiance. The A'ontba proverb about the egg and the 
bowl is used as a warning to a smaller or weaker petS'-a 
who presumes to challenge or criticize those aliotc him. 
while that of the needle and the chicken is used in 
defiance of a stronger or more influential person. So 
characteristic is this use of proverbs that in West Africa 
the songs of defiance and derision, which are common!' 



based on similar proverbs, are known as "proverbial 
songs." The proverb of the needle and the chicken is 
the basis of a topical song sung by Yoruba women in 
defiance of senior or stronger co-wives. 

A fundamental characteristic of proverbs is that they 
arc almost never applied in their literal sense. Once the 
usage of a proverb is explained, the appropriateness of 
the interpretation is apparent, but it may be somewhat 
different from the association which first comes to the 
reader's mind. For this reason collections consisting only 
of lists of proverbs with translations and explanations 
of their literal meanings are inadequate; yet collections 
such as those of Herzog and Blooah (Jabo).of Ilcrskovits 
and Tagbwe (Kru), and of Travdle (Bainbara), which 
analyze the situations to which proverbs apply, have 
been exceptions. 

Most Negro proverbs seem to be applicable to a num- 
ber of different circumstances, yet each is regarded as 
most apt for one particular situation. An individual's 
skill in citing the proverb most appropriate to a particu- 
lar occasion is recognized by tlte Yoruba. Their proverbs 
“An elder cannot see a rat but that it becomes a lizard 
next time" and “An elder docs not finish washing his 
hands and then say that he will cat some more" arc both 
applicable to a person who cannot make up his mind. 
Yet the former is regarded as more appropriate for this 
situation, while the latter is reserved for tlte person who 
is too greedy in his demands on younger people. 

Unlike folktales and riddles, proverbs arc seldom re- 
cited; they arc quoted in the course of ordinary con- 
versation. Almost never docs a discussion lack the spice 
of proverbs. African college girls on the Gold Coast and 
in Nigeria arc said to carry on metaphorical conversa- 
tions for hours, using nothing but proverbs, but this 
may be considered atypical and ostentatious. As collec- 
tions of folktales arc devitalized by the absence of ges- 
ture, facial expression, vocal emphasis, and the reaction 
and participation of the audience, so lists of proverbs 
suffer by being torn from the context of speech in which 
they normally occur. 

Folklore in education In operating to ensure cultural 
stability and continuity, folklore is important in the 
process of transmitting culture through the education of 
the individual. Myths, legends, and secret formulx may 
be a part of the instructions given by a parent to a child 
or by a priest or chief to an initiate, while other forms 
of folklore may be learned informally in social situations 
not specifically directed toward education. Riddles, 
which arc regarded as sharpening a child's wits, also 
teach lessons which must eventually be learned. In addi- 
tion to the characteristics of animals, human beings, and 
other natural objects, they may refer to social distinc- 
tions and social etiquette, as the following: "Who drinks 
with the king?" (Fly). "Who goes down the street past 
the king's house and docs not salute the king?” (Rain 

The role of Negro folklore in education has been best 
analyzed by Raum among the Chaga. Stories about 
monsters arc told to the youngest children, with im- 
plied threats to those who misbehave. Later, these arc 
gradually replaced by moral talcs which indicate such 
attitudes as diligence and filial piety, and show the conse- 
quences of laziness, snobbishness, and rebelliousness. 
When the Chaga child reaches fourteen, folktales and 
riddles give way to proverbs. These arc employed by 

parents to epitomize a lesson which they wish to teach 
their children, anil they appear as a didactic device in 
the instructions given to Chaga boys during the initia- 
tion ceremonies. "When a child flies into a rage, when 
he lies or steals, when he is recalcitrant or violates the 
code of etiquette, when lie makes an ass of himself, 
when lie is cowardly, lie hears his actions commented 
upon in the words of a provetb.” The impression made 
upon the child is frequently so forceful that the condi- 
tions under which a particular proverb was first heard 
can be remembered in adulthood. The importance of 
folklore in African life, and of proverbs in particular 
is perhaps best summarized in the svords of one of 
Ratlin's informants: “The Chaga have four big posses- 
sions: land, cattle, water, and proverbs." 

Selected Bibliography: 


Bascom, W. R„ "The Relationship of Yoruba Folklore 
to Divining," JAFL 5G: 127-131. 

Block, W. II. I., Reynard the Fox in South Africa. Lon- 
don, 18G1. (Bushmen) 

Callaway, Rev. Canon, Nursery Tales, Traditions and 
Histories of the Zulus. Natal, 18GS. 

Chatclain, II., Folk-tales of Angola. MAFI.S, vol. 1, 
1891. (Bunda) 

Christaller, J. G. jcd.) Tu-i Mmbusem Mpensa-Ahansia 
Mmoaano. A Collection of Three Thousand Six 
Hundred Tshi Proverbs in use among the Negroes 
of the Gold Coast speaking the Asantc and Fantc 
Languages. Basel, 1879. 

Cronisc, F. M. and I-I. IV. Ward, Cunnie Rabbit, Mr. 

Spider and the Other Reef. London. 1903. (Tetnne) 
Dokc, C. M„ iMtnba Folk-lore. MAFIAS, vol. 20, 1927. 
Lquilbecq, F. V„ Iissai stir la Littcrature Merveillcuse 
des Noires. Paris, 1913. (French West Africa) 
Frobenius, L., Atlantis: I’olksdichtung tut d I'olksinur- 
chen Afrikns. Jena, 1921-28. Vols. IV-XII. (Congo, 
Guinea Coast. Western Sudan, Nilotic Sudan) 
Frobenius, L., and D. C. Fox, African Genesis. New 
York, 1937. 

Gaden. IL, Proverbes el Maximes Peuls et Tnucoulrurs. 

Tram et Mdrn. de I'lnst. d'F.tli., vol. IG, 1931. 
Gutmann, Bruno, Volksbtich der Wadschagga. Leipzig. 
1914. (Chaga) 

Ilcrskovits, M. J., and S. Tagbwe, "Kru Proverbs," JAFL 
43: 223-293. 

Herzog, G., and C. G. Blooah, Jabo Proverbs from 
Liberia. London, I93G. 

Jacotlct, E., The Treasury of Ra-Sutu Lore. London, 

Junod, II. A„ Chants et Contes des Ra-Ronga. Lausanne, 
1897. (Thonga) 

, The Life of a South African Tribe (2nd cd.), 

2 vols. London, 1927. (Thonga) 

Klipplc, M. A., African Folk Tales with Foreign Ana- 
logues. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Indiana Uni- 
versity, 1938. 

Lederbogen, W., Kamcruncr Marchen. Berlin, 1901. 
Lindblom, G., Kamba Tales of Animals. Arch, d'lttudcs 
Orientates, vol. 20, pt. 1. Uppsala, 192G. 

Nassau, A. H., Where Animals Talk. Boston, 1912. 

(French Equatorial Africa) 

Rattray, R. S., Itausa Folklore, 2 vols. Oxford, 1913. 


, Ashanti Proverbs. Oxford, 1916. 

Akan- Ashanti Folk-Tales. Oxford, 19o0. 

Raum.’o. F„ Chaga Childhood. London, 1940. 

Schon, L, Magana Hausa. London, 1S85. 

Smith, F. W„ and A. M. Dale, The Ua-Spcakmg Peoples 
of Northern Rhodesia, 2 vols. London, 1920. 

Start, H. A., The Bavenda. London, 1931. 

Struck, B.. “Die Afrikanischen Marchen, 1 olkerkunde. 

Berlin, 1925, p. 35. 

Tauxier, L., Lcs Noires du Yatenga. Tans, 191/. 

, Ni-gres Gouro et Gagou. Paris, 1924. 

Thomas, N. W-, Anthropological Report on the Jbo- 
Spcahing Peoples of Nigeria, vol. VI. London, 1914. 
Travel^, M., Proverbes et Contes Bambara. Paris, 1923. 
Tremea'me, A. J., Hama Superstitions and Customs. 

London, 1913. 

Weeks, J. H„ Jungle Life and Jungle Stories. London, 
1923. (Belgian Congo) 

Werner, A., “African Mythology” in Mythology of All 
Races, vol. 7, pp. 101—448. Boston, 1925. 

t Myths and Legends of the Bantu. London, 1933. 

New World 

Andrade, M. J., Folklore from the Dominican Republic. 
MAFLS, vol. 23, 1930. 

Beckwith, M., Jamaica Anansi Stories. MAFLS, vol. 17, 

, Jamaica Folk-lore. MAFLS, vol. 21. 1928. 

Fortier, A., Lousiana Folktales. MAFLS, vol. 2, 1895. 
Harris, J. C., Uncle Remus, His Songs and Sayings. 
Boston, 18S0. 

, Nights with Uncle Remus. Boston, 1883. 

Hcrskovits, M. J., and F. S„ Suriname Folklore. New 
York, 1936. 

Magalhaes, B. de, O Folk-lore no Brasil (based on tales 
collected by J. da Silva-Campos). Rio de Janeiro, 1928. 
Parsons, E. C., Folk Tales of Andros Island, Bahamas. 
MAFLS, vol. 13, 1918. 

, Folklore of the Sea Islands, South Carolina. 

MAFLS, vol. 16, 1923. 

, Folklore of the Antilles, French and English. 

MAFLS, vol. 25, pts. 1-3, 1933-42. 

Stoney, S. G., and G. M. Shelby, Black Genesis. New 
York, 1930. 

Sylvain-Comhaire, S„ "Creole Tales flora Haiti," JAFL 
50: 207-295: 51: 219-346. 

Richard A. Waterman and William R. Bascom 

afrit, afreet, or ifrit In the Koran, an epithet applied 
to a demon: later construed as the designation of a 
particularly terrible and dangerous kind of demon, and 
prevailingly so accepted in Arabian mythology and 
among all Moslems. 

afterbirth The placenta. In the folk belief of nearly 
all the peoples in the world (civilized and primitive) 
the afterbirth is closely associated with the soul, life, 
death, health, character, success, or failure of the person 
with whom it is born, and is therefore equally tied up 
with the deeply rooted human belief in the separable or 
external soul. What becomes of the afterbirth (and with 
it the umbilical cord and caul) either influences or de- 
termines the whole life-story of the child. It is variously 
believed to embody his own soul-substance or his guard- 
ian spirit, to be either his brother, twin, or actual double, 
or to be so mystically and inseparably connected with 

• , 

him that its treatment or fate will shape his slfl)i~ 

and fate. Among peoples and cultures f Toni l 
Columbia to Tierra del Fuego, Iceland, Siberia E ntfc “ 
and South Africa, among the peoples of China Ind'” 0 ^’ 
the south Pacific, and also among certain North T*' 3 ’ 
ican Indians, the afterbirth is regarded with awe ’ 
either preserved or disposed of according to the hA 
of the group. 

The Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia present, 
afterbirth of a boy baby to the ravens, believirw ft 
tin's will endow him with the power to see the fuw 
the afterbirth of a girl baby is buried at high-tide mail 
to insure her becoming a good dam digger. The Yu 
kaghir peoples of northeastern Siberia have this same 
reliance on the sympathetic magic involved when thw 
tie up the afterbirth in a reindeer skin and attach toiti 
miniature bow and arrow', a little wooden knife, and 
scraps of fur to make a boy a good hunter. A toy woman's 
knife, thimble, and needle attached to the afterbinh 
bundle of a girl will make her a skilful worker. A people 
as far removed from these two groups as the Aymant 
Indians of Bolivia cover the afterbirth with flowers and 
bury it along with tiny farm tools for a boy and cooW 
pots for a girl. All over Europe the people bdieve that 
one’s fate is tied up with his afterbirth. Great care is 
taken to prevent its being found and eaten by an animal 
or exposed to evil spirits. If an animal should find and 
eat it, the child would grow up with all the most un- 
attractive qualities (physical or mental) of that animal 

The belief that the afterbirth contains part of the 
soul-substance of the child is found as far apart as Ice- 
land and Zanzibar, Australia and Sumatra. The Swahilis 
of Zanzibar bury the afterbirth tinder the house in which 
a child is born to insure his loyalty to home. The Karo 
Bataks (Sumatra) also bury it under the house, believing 
that it contains the child's true soul. He has another soul 
for everyday life, but the true soul resides in the after- 
birth and must be kept safe. The Bataks of Sumatra alsc 
bury their afterbirths under the house, believing the) 
contain the souls of their children. Some of the tribe 
of Sumatra, however, carefully preserve them with sal 
and tamarinds and invoke the souls therein, a practice 
bordering on the guardian-spirit idea. This guardian- 
spirit idea is shared by the Sumatran Kooboos, who 
believe the afterbirth contains the guardian spirit that 
will protect an individual from evil all his life. Sumatran 
Battras believe everyone has two guardian spirits: one 
contained in the germ of conception (called elder 
brother) and one in the afterbirth (called younger 
brother). Central Australian tribes also believe the after- 
birth contains the child’s spirit and hide it safely in the 
ground. Queensland, Australia, tribes believe that only 
a certain part of the soul, the cho-i, remains in the 
afterbirth. They never fail to bury it at once and mark 
the spot with a cone of twigs so that Anjea may easily 
find it to make another baby. 

Among the Baganda of central Africa the afterbirth 
is the actual twin or double of the child that is bom. 
It is put in a pot and buried under a plantain tree 
(evidently Musa arnoldiana). It becomes a ghost and 
goes into the tree, which is carefully guarded lest any- 
one not kin should make food or drink from it. If this 
should happen the ghost-twin would go away and the 
child in the house would follow its twin and die. The 
king’s “twin” is kept in a little temple and a special 


' 4 ; 

^ 25 

J?.' guardian is appointed, the kimbugwe, to take care of 
0 it. He takes it out of its wrappings once a month, allows 
the moon to shine upon it, rubs it with butter, shows it 
to the king to assure him of the welfare of his double, 
S an( i returns it to the safety of the temple. Tribes south 
of the Uganda also believe the afterbirth is a human 
N being. Certain North American Indians tell vivid stories 
revealing belief in the afterbirth as twin of the child. 
In the Creek Indian story of the Bead-Spitter and 
l l Thrown-Away, the father hides and watches for the 
secret playmate of his son, who has surprisingly asked 
U for two toy bows with arrows. From his watching place 
■: the man sees another boy come from the afterbirth in 
s the bushes (where he himself had thrown it) and play 
;• with the other. It is the child’s own twin. This develop- 
ment of twin from afterbirth appears also in Wichita, 

5 Pawnee, and Cherokee tales. But in the Natchez Indian 
story, Thrown-Away developed from the discarded 
H umbilical cord. 

The Batanga belief of the little ghost in the tree ties 
; up the folklore of the afterbirth with another wide- 
. spread folk belief, i.e. the birth-tree and its identity with 
. the child for whom it is planted. In Calabar, West 
Africa, a young palm tree is planted when a child is 
born and the afterbirth is buried under it. The after- 
birth insures the growth of the tree as the growth of the 
tree insures the growth of the child. This belief and 
practice prevail in New Zealand and the Molucca Islands, 
in PomeTania in Prussia, and in other parts of Europe. It 
is paralleled by the Hupa Indians of California who 
split in two a young fir tree at the birth of a child, put 
the afterbirth and umbilical cord inside, and bind the 
tree together again. The welfare of the child depends 
thereafter on the fate of the tree. 

In ancient Jewish practice various mysterious medi- 
cines and charms were made fTom the ashes of the after- 
birth. Mixed with milk they would charm the wasting 
disease away from a small child; mixed with snapdragons 
and tied in a little bag around a child's neck, they 
proved a powerful charm against bewitchment. In China 
medicinal pills were often made from the placenta. The 
Peruvian Aymara Indians also value its ashes as a kind 
of cure for various ills. 

The Javanese custom differs from all these. In Java the 
women place the afterbirth in a little vessel, bedeck it 
with fruits, flowers, and lighted candles, and set it adrift 
in the river at night to please the crocodiles. This is 
either because all afterbirths are crocodiles, brothers and 
sisters of their human counterparts, or because the croco- 
diles are inhabited by the ancestors of the people, and 
one twin is religiously returned to them. 

afterworld The abode of the dead; the world after 
death: a concept of all human mythologies and religions. 
Sometimes it is situated in gloomy regions under the 
earth or under the sea, sometimes in a bright sky world; 
sometimes it is on a nearby, or distant, island, as the 
Abokas of New Hebrides (Melanesian) mythology, or it 
is thought to be far across the sea, or sometimes just “in 
the west.” 

Many mythologies contain the dual concept of a 
■wonderful abode for the blessed and a grim underworld 
for the less fortunate. The Central Eskimo, for instance, 
have Qudlivun, a happy land in the sky full of games 
and pleasure, Adlivun, an undersea world of discom- 

fort and punishment, and Adliparmiut, an even lower 
region, which is not quite so terrible as Adlivun, but 
from which there is no return. Other afterworlds typical 
of the dual (or multiple) concept are: the Greek Elysium, 
for heroes and the blessed, originally situated in the 
western ocean, and Hades, the underworld of shades; 
the Norse Valhalla, hall of the chosen slain, Bilskirnir, 
Thor’s huge palace where the thralls were entertained 
as well as their masters in Valhalla, I'ensalir, Frigga’s 
palace, ■where happy married couples were invited to 
come and stay forever, and Hel, the underground realm 
of death; and the Christian system of heaven, hell, and 
purgatory. The Caroline Islands (Micronesian) after- 
world includes a sky heaven for those souls who, in the 
shape of sea birds, manage to reach it, a special region 
set apart for warriors so that they may go on with their 
fighting, and a place where earth and heaven meet for 
women who die in childbirth. But men who hang them- 
selves are shut out altogether, because the gods do not 
like to see their protruding tongues. 

Nai Thombo Thombo is the afterworld of Fijian 
(Melanesian) belief. Life there follows the pattern of 
life on earth; but few souls ever reach it because the 
journey is so beset with perils and frustrations. The soul 
must carry a whale’s tooth, for instance, which has been 
put into the dead hand. This he must hurl at a certain 
tree to ■which he will come. If he misses, he must return 
to his grave; if he hits it, he may proceed to another 
place where he awaits the souls of his strangled wives. 
He cannot continue his journey until they have all 
caught up with him. (Bachelors are always caught by 
demons.) The soul with his wives then advances on his 
journey, fighting demons on every side. If he does not 
overcome them, they eat him. If he wins, he eventually 
reaches a mountain place where he is questioned. After 
the questioning he is either sent back to earth to be 
deified by his descendants, or he is dumped into the sea: 
the path to the last place. Nai Thombo Thombo is not 
only a real place in Fijian belief, but a real road leads 
to it, through a real town. In this town the people take 
care to build all doors exactly opposite each other, to 
make easier the way for the bewildered souls. They are 
careful, too, to leave no sharp implements lying about 
which might injure the passing ones. 

Tongan and Samoan (Polynesian) mythology has an 
afterworld named Pulotu, which is either on an island 
“to the northwest,” or under the sea. Samoans believe 
that the entrance to it is through two round openings 
in certain rocks on the west end of Savaii island. The big 
opening is for chiefs, the smaller one for other people. 
Once through the openings, the souls drop into a pit; 
at the bottom of the pit runs a river which carries them 
to Pulotu. There they bathe in the water of life and are 
young again. 

Society Islanders (also Polynesian) believe that the 
soul is met at death by other souls who conduct it to Po, 
an underworld of darkness, where it is fed to a god 
three times and, after the third reshaping, is deified. 
The people of the Marquesas believe in an upper pleas- 
ant world for gods and chiefs, and three lower worlds, 
one below the other, to which the souls of the dead are 
consigned according to the number of pigs sacrificed for 
them. The lowest of these regions is the pleasantest, the 
top the worst. 

The shaman of the Caingang Indians (Brazil) sits 


beside the body of one newly dead and instructs the 
soul how' to face the dangeis of the journey to the after- 
world. The soul must be careful not to take a certain 
forking path which leads into the web of a giant spider; 
it must take care to avoid a ceitain trap which would 
hurl it into a boiling pot; it must walk warily on a slip- 
pery path beside a swamp where a huge crab is waiting. 
If the soul escape these dangers it will come at last to 
a western underworld where it is always day; here the 
aged become young and hunt joyfully in a forest teem- 
ing with deer, tapirs, and all kinds of game. Later comes 
a second death, after which the soul inhabits some in- 
sect, usually a mosquito or ant. The death of this insect 
is the end and obliteration of the soul, lienee the Gain- 
gang do not kill insects. 

In North American Karok Indian belief, mortals who 
visit the world of the dead see their departed ones living 
and dancing just as they did on earth. Hut the earthly 
visitor discovers that he lias been away from the worltl a 

year, when he thought it was a day. Among the Omaha 
the Milky Way is the path the spirits navel to a seven- 
fold spirit world. An old man sits by the Milky Way 
directing the souls of the blessed to a short cut. The 
souls of the Caribou Eskimo pass into the keeping of 
Pana, the Womair-Up-Tlrere, whose sky heaven is full 
of holes. The holes arc stars; and when anything is 

spilled Up There it comes through the holes in the 
shape of rain, snow, hailstones, etc. The dead are re- 
born in the house of Pana, and brought back to earth 
with the help of the moon, to live again as human 
beings, or animals, birds, fish. etc. The nights no moon 
is visible arc the nights the moon is busy helping Pana 
bring the souls to the world again. 

The Dahomcan Negro afterworld is said by some to 
be in the sky, by others to be beneath the earth, lint 
the path to it is so well known that there is a map of it. 
In Bantu mythology the souls of the dead inhabit an 
underground region referred to by many of the tribes 
as Ku-zimu. Earthquakes arc believed to be caused by- 
agitation among these underground populations. 

'f: SS-I fill. uq l 

agaric A fungus of the mushrobm group (order 
Agaricalcs). The agarics of folklore arc the lly agaric 
(Amanita muscaria) whose deadly poison is often used 
in a decoction for killing flics, and an agaric found grow- 
ing on birch trees which provides the spunk or touch- 
wood of such sudden and magical combustibility. 

The Siberian Koryaks endow this poisonous fungus 
(the fly agaric) with a spirit or personality. Wapaq they 
call it and believe the wapaq arc powerful guiding 
spirits for anyone who dares to eat. The myth says Big 
Raven caught a whale, but could not send it home again 
because lie could not lift the big grass-bag the whale 
would need for food cn route. He cried out to Vahiynin 
(Existence) and Vahiynin said, "Eat the wapaq." Va- 
hiynin spat upon the earth and there stood the little 
white plants with the foam of the spittle turning to 
spots upon their hats. So Big Ra\ cn ate the wapaq and 
suddenly felt so gay and mighty that he easily lifted the 
big grass-bag for the whale, and the whale went home 
to the sea. Then when Big Raven saw the whale swim- 
ming home lie said, “O wapaq, grow on the earth for- 
ever,” and to his children lie said, "Learn whatever the 
wapaq shall teach." So the Koryak believe today that a 
person affected with agauc is guided by the wapaq. It 
I 'l -4 1- c l , 


an old man should cat agaric and the wapaq rvithin it 
agaric should whisper, "Vou have just been bom," 
old man would begin to cry like a baby. If ii lc 11 
should say, “Go to the afterworld," then the old ^ 
would die. “ ln 

In Europe, Scotland, Ireland, and various Celt’ 
islands, another kind of agaric (probably Polyban 
offirinalif) which grows on trees is looked upon a‘hi\ 
ing great mysterious powers and properties. The sccmin- 
magic of its sudden combustibility is probably the 
reason for its use in kindling the Beltane fires (the frinj 
eight. the fire from rubbing sticks). Not only j s |[, e 
flare so instantaneous and bright as to seem pure ma-ic 
but this wonderful substance is believed also to possess 
great potency as a charm against witchcraft and various 
diseases. It was also thought to be able to render poisons 

Agastya or Agasti A famous Risltl of India, regarded 
as the author of certain Vedic hymns: in Hindu my. 
thology. noted for his asceticism, his magical birth from 
a water-jar into which his two fathers, Mitra and 
Vanina, had dropped their seed on seeing the nymph, 
Urvatl, and his creation by magic of the beautiful 
Lopfitnudru. whom he married in order to have sons and 
save himself and bis ancestors from destruction, lie h 
celebrated for halting the growth of the Vindjn moun- 
tains and for drinking up the ocean. The MahSbhSrata 
describes how a certain group of asnras, who were at 
war with the gods, hid themselves in the ocean and 
decided to wotk from there against holy men and 
llrfihmans and put an cml to the world. The gods ap- 
pealed to Agastya for help, to lie drank tip the ocean; 
the asmas were exposed in their hiding place, and killed 
by the gods. Perhaps the most famous feat of Agastya 
was his preventing the Vindya mountains from stopping 
the course of the stilt. Vindya wanted to he higher than 
Mount Merit around whose peak the sun and moon 
revolved. So lie began to grow up and up until the gods 
were afraid lie would stop the sun in its course alto- 
gether. They begged Agastya to slo something to stop 
the alarming growth. Agastya packed up his belonging! 
and with his family started on a journey into the south 
When he came to Vindya. lie asked a boon; that Vindya 
cease growing until his return. So Vindya stopped grow- 
ing. and is waiting yet, the same height as on that day, 
for Agastya decided to stay in the south forever. Some 
stories say he came hack; but most people believe he 
never did because the mountain has not grown an inch. 
How his miraculous digestion put an end to the in- 
digestible demon ram who expected to kill Agastya from 
within, is another favorite Hindu story. 

After his death Agastya was assigned a place in the 
heavens and is identified with Canopus. Popular my- 
thology ascribes to him the power of staying monsoons, 
i.c. controlling the waters of the ocean and restoring the 
sun to man. lie is still living (though invisible) on 
Agastya s hill in Travancorc, and regarded as the patron 
saint of southern India who was instrumental in the 
introduction of Hindu literature and religion in that 
region. Sec MauAmiarata. 

agate A variegated quartz or chalcedony having the 
colors usually in bands, but existing also in solid white, 
brown, and red, as well as white and black, white and 
gray, white and red varieties: according to Theocritus 



named for the river Achates in Sicily tvhere it was first 
found. Agate relieves thirst if held in the mouth long 
enough; it reduces fever; and it was once believed to turn 
the sword of an enemy against himself. It is dedicated 
to June; symbolizes health and longevity. In Jewish lore 
the agate was believed to prevent one from stumbling 
or falling, and was especially prized by horsemen for 
that reason. In Arabia arrow-shaped amulets made of 
agate were worn as being good for the blood. The 
medieval belief that agate was a specific against the bites 
of scorpions and snakes was somewhat dispelled by 
Jacques Grevin, a physician of 16th century Paris. He 
published various writings casting doubt on the efficacy 
of toadstonc and turquoise for detecting poisons, but 
could not deny that powdered agate on the tongue (not 
worn as an amulet) would cure a poisoned patient. The 
varieties of agate used by certain North American In- 
dians to make implements and blades are loosely and 
popularly called flint. 

agave A plant of the genus Agave; especially, the cen- 
tury plant ( Agave americana), so called because it flowers 
when it reaches maturity (in ten to thirty years) and then 
dies, giving rise to the fable that it blooms once in a 
century. The plant is a native of arid regions in the 
southern United States and Central America and has 
long been cultivated in Mexico for its sap, which is fer- 
mented. The resulting thin, buttermilk-like liquid is 
called pulque and is widely consumed in Mexico. A 
very intoxicating liquor, mezeal or aguardiente de 
maguey, is distilled from pulque. 

The goddess and discoverer of the plant, Mayauel, is 
represented with four hundred breasts and seated be- 
fore or on the plant. The agave was regarded by the 
Nahua people as the Tree of Life and its milk was used 
by Xolotl to nurse the first man and woman created by 
the Aztec gods. 

Agbe Chief god of the Thunder pantheon (Xevioso) 
of Dahomey religion. He was entrusted with full charge 
of world affairs by his mother Sogbo (in this pantheon, 
synonym for Mawu). In the Sky pantheon Agbe is the 
son of Mawu and Lisa, but the Xevioso cult identifies 
him with Lisa. Agbe has the whole sea for his dwelling, 
but to converse with his mother Agbe goes to that place 
where the sea and sky meet. Hence the round rising 
and setting suns are called the eyes of Agbe (Dahomey 
being so situated that the sun is seen both to rise from 
and sink into the sea). In spite of his powers in the 
world, Agbe was not shown how to send rain. He must 
send water up from the sea to his mother who causes 
it to fall from the sky as rain upon the earth. Hence 
when lightning strikes a ship at sea, Agbe has struck it; 
but lightning on the earth is sent by Mawu (Sogbo) 
(see Herskovits Dahomey II, 151, 156, 159). 

The Dahomey Agbe survives in Haiti as Agwe or 
Agwe Woyo, a god of the Rada division or class of the 
vodun pantheon. Here too he is god of the sea and has 
a son and a daughter, Agweto and Agweta. His worship 
is strong only in coastal communities. In the over- 
lapping of Catholicism in Haiti upon the basic vodun 
elements, St. Expeditius has been equated with A give. 
Agdistis Offspring of the seed of Zeus dropped in 
sleep upon the earth, a hermaphrodite: identified with 
the Phrygian Earth-Mother, Cybele. The story as told 
by Pausanius states that the gods abhorred the ab- 

normality and severed its male organs. From these grew 
the almond tree from whose blossom (or fruit) Nana 
conceived Attis. Later the sight of the beautiful Attis 
filled Agdistis with such passion, that at the moment of 
his marriage she drove Attis mad and he castrated him- 
self. The father of the bride in like madness did the 
same. Attis died of the wound, and Agdistis, grief- 
stricken and repentant, implored Zeus never to allow 
the beautiful body of Attis to decompose. This Zeus 
promised. According to Hesychius, Strabo, Ovid, and 
many others, Agdistis and Cybele are one and the same. 
The story explains the practice of the self-emasculation 
of the priests of the original Attis cults during the 
orgiastic rituals. It is tied up with the symbolism of the 
joint male-female potencies in nature, with the theme 
of the uncorrupted body, and of course with the wide- 
spread Adonis-Aphrodite, Osiris-Isis vegetation myths. 

ages of man The periods of time into which the life 
of an individual is considered to be divided. What, walks 
on four legs at morning, two legs at noon, and three legs 
at evening? The answer to this riddle of the Sphinx; 
Man (who creeps on all fours in infancy, walks upright 
in manhood, uses a cane in old age). The division of the 
life of man into seven stages is said to have been first 
defined by Hippocrates: infancy, childhood, boyhood, 
youth, manhood, middle age, old age. This has been 
reworded by many writers as infancy, childhood, puberty, 
youth, prime, old age, senility. References to these seven 
periods are frequent in Midrashic writings. Probably the 
best known is the following: The child of a year is like 
a king, adored by all; at two or three he is like a swine, 
playing in the mire. In the third period he is likened 
to a kid "which capers hither and thither making glad 
the hearts of all who look upon it.” This third period 
continues until the individual is about eighteen years 
old. At twenty he is like a horse, spirited and confiding 
in the strength of youth. Then comes the fifth stage 
when he is like an ass, burdened with wife and children, 
and having to travel backward and forward to bring 
home sustenance. The sixth stage is not attractive, being 
that time during which man snatches his bread wherever 
he finds it, caring for nothing but his own household. 
In the seventh stage he is like an ape, asking for food 
and drink and playing like a child, "but a learned man 
like David is a king, though old.” 

ages of the world Those periods of the earth’s exist- 
ence between cosmic cataclysms. Both the Jews and 
Babylonians record their history as before and after 
the flood. The idea of the deluge is found in most 
primitive cultures, either past or future, while many 
North American Indian mythologies derive creation out 
of a watery chaos. Most Indians of South America re- 
cord two destructions, water and fire. The Aztecs record 
four: earth, air, fire, and water, i.e. famine, hurricane, 
fire, and flood, although the order is not certain. 

The Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron ages of the 
ancient classical world are the most widely known. Dur- 
ing the Golden Age, ruled by Saturn, man lived to a 
great age in an abundant Garden of Eden, free from 
restraint of law or necessity for work. The Silver Age 
or Age of Jupiter was characterized by licentiousness 
and voluptuous living. Men refused to worship the 
gods and were finally destroyed. The Bronze Age of 
Neptune was a violent period of warfare in which 


even-one was destroyed by internal strife. And m the 
Iron Age of Pluto, there was neither justice, law, nor 
religion left in the world. Hesiod in his ll orfcs and 
Days gives a fifth age after the Bronte called the Heroic 
Ace when men strove to do better, but faded. 

The ancient Hindus divided their existence into 
four periods, or yogas, of declining morality. Duration 
of each successive period diminishes by one fourth, as 
does mans life span, stature, and virtue. In krita yuga, 
men were giants and lived in plenty. Neither gods nor 
demons existed and sacrifices were unknown. This 
period lasted 4,000 divine years (300 years each) plus 
dawn and twilight periods, or 1,728,000 years. In the 
treta yuga, which lasted 1,296,000 years, mans life span 
declined to 300 years. Vice crept in, but sacrifices were 
made devoutly. In dvapara yuga vice and disease were 
rife, ceremonies increased, marriage laws were needed 
for the first time, and sacrifices were made only with 

the hope of gain. In the kali yuga religion disappears 
altogether and the world is given over to sin and strife; 
and at the end the earth will be destroyed by fire 
and flood. The cycle, which lasts 4,320,000 years, will 
not be repeated for a thousand times this period. 

The Buddhists also use the four yugas which were 
later elaborated. Their system consists of four im- 
ponderable periods made up of twenty intermediate 
parts of four yugas each. The first imponderable is a 
period of destruction, the second of nothingness, and 
the third of reconstruction. First come sun, moon, and 
gods; then, in nineteen successive stages, life is dis- 
tributed, including man w ho lives to the age of 80,000. 
When demons appear, reconstruction is completed. In 
tlie imponderable of destruction, through increase of 
vice and disease, man's life declines to ten years by the 
end of the fourth yuga. In the second intermediate 
period the yugas are reversed and man improves until 
he is back at the beginning, and so on for twenty 
intermediates before the next destruction. Even de- 
structions move in cycles of 64, seven by fire and one 
by water, etc., until the G4th which is by wind and 
the worst of the set. 

St. Agnes’ Eve The night before St. Agnes' festival 
day, January 21: a time of divination for young un- 
married girls. In England and Scotland all kinds of 
charms, rimes, and special rituals are said and per- 
formed by which young girls expect to be shown whom 
they will marry. "Agnes sweet, Agnes fair / Hither, hither 
now repair / Bonny Agnes let me see / The lad who is 
to marry me,” is a favorite incantation, said while sprin- 
kling a little grain on the ground. A young girl about to 
fall asleep will say, "St. Agnes, that's to lovers kind j 
Come ease the trouble of my mind." But before getting 
in bed she has put a sprig of thyme in one shoe, a sprig 
of rosemary in the other, and placed one on each side 
of her bed. This is sure to bring the hoped-for revela- 
tion, i.e. her future husband's face in a dream. 

Agni or Agnis In Hinduism, the god or personifica- 
tion of fire: one of the three chief deities of the Vedas 
(others were the rain god, Vayu or Indra, and the sun 
god, Surya). Agni represents lightning and the sun as 
well as earthly fire. In the latter he is always present 
in every household and is believed to be the giver of 
immortality who purges from sin, burns away the guilt 
of the body after death, and carries the immortal part 

23 : 

to heaven. As the altar fire he is the god of pn et 
the priest of gods, the mediator between gods ^ 

He was born of the lotus, according to the 
Vedas, created by Brahma ( Mahabharald ), kindled ? 
Bhrigu for the diffusion of fire on earth (Hig-r<dn\ 
the son of two pieces of wood which he immediate)' 
swallowed. He was one of the eight lokapalas. guards 
of the cardinal and intermediate points. He is describH 
as red, with two faces and seven tongues to lick upti» 
butter used in sacrifices, or sometimes with three h«d, 
and seven rays, clothed in black, carrying a snake 
dard and a flaming javelin, and is shown i n a chariot 
drawn by red horses. 

In mythology, he betrayed Bhrigu’s wife into ft. 
hands of a Rakslias, was cursed by Bhrigu, and cm- 
demned forever after to consume everything. Agni t e . 
belled against this and hid himself until both men and 
gods recognized his indispcnsability. Then Brahma as- 
sured him that he would devour only in the sense o[ 
digesting. He exhausted his vigor by consuming too 
many oblations, and renewed it by burning the Khan- 
dava forest while Krishna and Arjuna guarded each end 
of it so that its inhabitants could not escape and India 
could not stop the proceeding. 

In popular belief to poke a fire wounds Agni. He is 
invoked by lovers to intervene in their affairs, and by 
men for virility. His worship and ritual have degenerated 
in modern Hinduism and be has no professed sett, 
but Agnibotxi Brahmans still perform the fire sacrifice 
or agniholra. Compare ATAR. 

Agunua The principal figona of San Cristoval island: 
a Melanesian creator who, unlike most figona, is repre- 
sented as a male snake. Agunua created the sea, the land, 
men, storms, and a woman. When the woman was old, 
she changed her skin and returned looking young and 
lovely. Her daughter did not recognize her and would 
have nothing to do with her. The woman went away 
again, put on her old skin, and so death came into the 
world, for men could thenceforth no longer change 
their skins when they were old. 

Rain came to the earth because Agunua was thirsty. 
Food, too, was given to man when Agunua gave his twin 
man-brother a yam and told him to plant it in a big 
garden. The brother cut the yam, put the pieces in a 
basket, and began to plant them. The basket never 
emptied and from the crop came all kinds of yams, 
bananas, almond trees, coconuts, and fruit trees. Then 
Agunua gave him fire from his own staff and the man 
cooked the yams. From the burnt ones came the un- 
eatable fruits, from the unbaked pieces came taro and 
bananas. Finally the figona bore a male child and then 
produced a girl who knew how to make fire and cook. 

Sacrifices are made to Agunua in the form of shell 
money and by burning a pudding made of yams and 
almonds. See Melanesian mvtjiologv. 

Ahasuerus (1) A shoemaker of Jerusalem: one of the 
personalities and names ascribed to the Wandering Jew. 
Ahasuerus was standing in his doorway to catch a sight 
of Jesus passing by, weighed down under the cross, on 
his way to Calvary. Jesus stopped to rest a moment, but 
the shoemaker in righteous zeal told him to move on. 
Jesus moved on, but turned to say, "Thou shalt wander 
without rest until the last day." Ahasuerus followed the 
crowd and watched the crucifixion. At that moment it 



came upon him that he must go forth into all lands. He 
is said to be perpetually wandering over the face of the 
earth, repentant and longing for the release of death. 

(2) In the Book of Esther, king of Persia; husband of 
Vasliti and Esther. He has been identified with Xerxes. 
Ahasuerus was inclined to be swayed by his passion of 
the moment, or by whoever had his ear, as did Haman. 
He commanded Queen Vashti to appear before him and 
his nobles to show her beauty, but the king was drunk 
and Vashti refused. He therefore degraded her by mak- 
ing her no longer queen and sought among the virgins 
of his land for a new queen until he discovered Esther, 
whom he made queen. By Haman’s connivance he 
ordered a slaughter of the Jews in his realm, and when 
he learned that the Jews were Esther's people, he re- 
versed his orders. 

Ahayuta achi The twin war gods of Zufii mythology, 
culture heroes and inventors, hunters, protectors of 
gamblers, mischief-makers and benefactors, destroyers 
of monsters, great and adventurous travelers, and lusty 
rapers. They live inside the mountain and guard the 
towns, and in this capacity are called the Ones Who 
Hold The High Places. They are impersonated at the 
War Society ceremonies and also as kachinas. As kachinas 
they have to be killed as symbolic of how they them- 
selves learned to be skilful killers. The War Chiefs pray 
to them at the winter solstice for good crops and long 
life for the people. 

In story they figure usually as two little hoys magically 
begotten by the Sun; sons of the Sun and Waterfall or 
Dripping Water. They always live with their grand- 
mother, who is usually named Spider Woman. They 
are always mischievous, always teasing and disobeying 
the old lady, stealing salt from animals, stealing masks 
from the kachinas, and always going where the grand- 
mother says not to. This gives rise to many stories of 
monster slaying, and specifically to the story of their 
journey to the sky to find their father the Sun. 

As culture heroes they gave the people their whole way 
of life, and designated the directions of the four quarters 
of the earth. They founded the Curing societies at Zufii 
and Sia. The Tewa Twins also made the mountains; 
among the Hopi they made the water courses, and dug 
the canyons to drain the water out of the earth that was 
so soft and muddy before that, that the people sank 
into it. 

As travelers the Twins had many adventures. Ma’sewi 
(one of them) of Laguna went to the four comers of the 
world on errands for the underground Mothers. On 
one escapade the two of them killed the dreaded Chak- 
wena giantess, after Sun revealed to them that the 
monster kept her heart in her gourd rattle. They always 
returned triumphant from their joumeyings, having 
killed a monster, saved a village from a man-eating 
ghost, etc., in justification of their disobedience in going 
to that place. The Acoma Twins stole the four magic 
staffs that bring snow, hail, frost, and lightning, from 
the Direction Chiefs while they were sleeping. When 
the Chiefs awoke they sent the 'Water Serpent after the 
brothers, and in the wake of the Serpent came destroy- 
ing floods. The people ran up the mountain while the 
Twins killed the Serpent with arrows of the Sun and 
saved the village. 

The War Twins are prominent through all pueblo 

mythology and folktale. At Zufii they are the Ahayuta 
achi, 'War Brothers, War Twins, little war gods, sons of 
the Sun; at Taos they are the hayunu, the Stone Men, 
two brothers; at Tewa they are known as the Towae 
sendo. Little People; the Hopi call them Pu’ukonghoya, 
little Smiter, and Pa’lungahoya; the Keres and Jemez 
call them Ma’sewi and Uyuyewi. One of them is the 
Slayer-of-Monsters developed so elaborately in Apache 
and Navalio mythology. In Hopi story the Twins once 
kindly turned into stone two little children who had 
been whipped and had run away from home, with the 
result that the Hopi now never whip their children. 
The Twins punish inhospitality the same way. Many 
tales of the War Twins resemble very closely Taos stories 
of Echo Boy and the Hopi, Tewa, and Cochiti stories 
of Ash Boys, Fire Boys, Poker Boys, etc., but the Zufii 
Ahayuta achi are not truly identified with any of these. 

At Zufii they are closely associated with lightning and 
with falling stars and comets. The myth of their search 
for their father in the sky merges into their identifica- 
tion with the Morning Star. When the Franciscans first 
told the Christ story in the pueblos the people identified 
Jesus with these two little boys and leaped to the charm- 
ing analogy between God the Father and God the Son, 
and Sun and Morning Star. See Twins. 

Ahi Literally, the snake: another name for Vyitra 
(although sometimes distinct), the serpent dragon of 
Vedic mythology, who absorbed the cosmic waters and 
lay in coils upon the mountains. For this reason he was 
sometimes called the cloud demon. Indra killed this 
monster with his thunderbolt, and the precious waters 
flowed from its riven belly in streams across the land. 
Sap rose in the trees and warm blood flowed again in 
human veins. Ahi or Vritra is sometimes otherwise in- 
terpreted as the personification of winter (not just the 
hoarder of rain) whose slaying unlocks the frozen 

ahimsa The Indian doctrine of the sanctity of life, 
originally set forth in one of the Upanishads about the 
7th century B.C.: common to all Indian sects ever since. 
The Brahman may deprive no creature of its life, not 
man, beast, worm, nor ant. He may not even pour out 
water on the ground lest some aquatic organism perish 
in the dry sand. Jainism gave the idea first place in its 
tenets. Ahimsa is the first of the five Jainist ascetic vows, 
and the true Jainist carries its observance to minute 
and fanatic extremes. He will not kill body vermin; he 
sweeps the ground before him so as not to tread or sit 
on any tiny living thing. He will not eat at night lest 
inadvertently he swallow a gnat. Early Buddhists would 
not cat meat or fruit, since both contain worms. But 
present-day Buddhists do not go beyond reason in their 
observances or diet. Vegetarianism is widespread but 
not absolute among them. Discussion still goes on as to 
whether or not the root and strength of ahimsa is the 
doctrine of the transmigration of souls. Consensus seems 
to be pointing towards the negative answer. Decent 
human reaction against the callous non-concern with 
life of the early sacrifices gave impetus to the idea 
throughout much Brahmanic writing. 

AM at-trab Supernatural beings inhabiting a world 
just below the surface of the Sahara desert. In Moslem 
Tuareg folk belief, these spirits do great damage. They 


trip camels and they drink the springs dry- just before 
travelers arrive. They are sometimes seen in the shape 
of whirling pillars of sand during sandstorms. 

Ah Pucli The Maya god of death: represented m 
codices as a skeleton or bloated corpse. He was also 
known as Hunhau, in which manifestation he presided 
over Mitnal, the ninth and lowest underworld. The 
modern Maya believe in Yum Cimil. the modern form, 
who visits the houses of the sick looking for victims. 
See MULTirLE heavens, hells, [gmf] 

Ahriman Modern Persian name for the principle of 
evil, Angra Mainyti. 

Ahti or All to The Finnish god of water, conceived of 
in the shape of an old man: helpful to fishermen. His 
wife is Vellamo. The name Ahti is also used as one of 
the names of the hero Lemminkainen. [jd] 

ahuizotl In ancient Mexican (Aztec) folklore, a strange 
animal about the size of a dog that lived in the water. 
It had hands and feet like a monkey and another hand 
on the tip of its extraordinarily long tail. It lived in 
deep waters waiting for human beings to come to the 
edge, then it reached out the long tail with the hand 
on the end and dragged the unlucky one into the water. 
In three days the body was cast upon the shore without 
eyes, teeth, or nails. These were the only things the 
ahuizotl wanted. No one dared touch the body but a 
priest, who attended to having it carried to its final 
place, a small house surrounded by water. This was be- 
cause the Tlalocs (rain gods) had chosen that soul for 
paradise. Flute music was played to him and his rela- 
tives were told to rejoice because of this choosing. 

The ahuizotl had another ruse for catching people. 
Sometimes he caused frogs and fish to jump around 
near his hiding place, so that some hapless fisherman 
would be tempted to approach near enough to cast his 
net and so be caught. The ahuizotl would sometimes 
even sit on the bank and cry like a child to deceive 
passers-by, and then grab them with the hand on the 
end of his tail when pity made them curious. Once an 
old woman caught one in a jug, but the priests made 
her put it back in the water, because it was subject to 
the rain gods. It was said that if anyone ever saw the 
ahuizotl and was not either caught or scared to death, 
he would die soon anyway. 

The creature appears often in the elaborate and in- 
tricate carvings of the Aztecs, but the hand on the end 
of the tail is never shown. The tail is always carefully 
coiled and the tip kept hidden. The conventional sign 
for water is always present, either on the back of the 
animal or in the base of the representation. The most 
famous carving of the ahuizotl yet known was taken to 
the Royal Ethnological Museum in Berlin. 

Aliura Mazda (Pahlavi Auharmazd, Persian Ormazd or 
Ormuzd) Literally, Lord Wisdom: in Zoroastrianism, 
the supreme deity: the principle of good, omniscient and 
omnipotent; god of law and justice. Ahura Mazda is the 
spirit of wisdom living in eternal, endless light, the 
opponent of Angra Mainyu who lives m darkness so 
thick that the hand can grasp it. The six attributes of 
Ahura Mazda are Vohu Manah (benevolence), Asha 
Vahishta (perfect order), Khshathra Vairya (good, 
power), Spenta Arraaiti (devotion, wisdom), Haurvatat 
(health, prosperity), ArnerMat (immortality), and Sraosha 

— : — ; 

(obedience) sometimes included as a seventh to 

plete the holy number when Ahura Mazda is nor* 
eluded with the group. These were frequently p eno ' S , 
fied but never regarded as distinct persons in the Gath' 1 
In the later Avesta they were separated from AhiT 
Mazda as entities and referred to as gods or archaanj 
who were to aid Ahura Mazda in guiding the world . 6 

Ahura Mazda is constantly regarded as the opp oncr , 
of Angra Mainyu. According to one myth both s pnffl , 
from Eternity; according to another, Angra Mainyu vy 
the product of a moment of doubt on the part of Ahutj 
Mazda. Angra Mainyu in the Gathas is pictured as op. 
posing Spenta Mainyu, the Holy Spirit of Ahura Mark 
Later this distinction between the two phases is lost 

In mythology the first man, Gaya Maretan, was born 
from the sweat of Ahura Mazda who is pictured as a 
stately, bearded man enclosed in a winged circle, grasp, 
ing a ring in one hand, the other uplifted as if blessin* 
his followers. He is also depicted as putting on the solid 
heavens as a garment and covering himself with flames 
of fire. He has been identified with the Vedic Varuna 
Greek Zeus, and Babylonian Bel Merodach. Sec Amesiu 
Spcntas. Compare Makduk. 

Ai apace The supreme deity of the Mochica peopled 
northern coastal Peru: an anthropomorphized feline god 
carried over from the ancient cat god of Peru’s north 
coast. He is usually represented in the shape of a 
wrinkle-faced old man with long fangs and cat whiskers. 
Many Mochica four-faced pottery vessels, however, verify 
his anthropomorphic nature in showing the human and 
feline faces back to back with the god eyes in the cat 
face. The rich ceramic art of tire Mochicas depicts Ai 
apaec also as farmer, fisherman, hunter, musician, and 
physician. He presided over human copulation, seeing 
to it that the act bore fruit. He fought (and always won) 
against demons, vampires, fish-monsters, dragons, eared 
serpents. He is depicted also as holding court attended 
by a lizard for servant and a dog for friend. 

Aido Hwedo The great rainbow serpent of Dahomey 
mythology, who transported Mawu from place to place 
as she went around creating the universe. Every morn- 
ing in whatever place they spent the night mountains 
stood: the piles of excrement left by Aido Hwedo. When 
the world was finished, they realized that too many 
things were too big; the earth was too heavy; it was 
going to topple. So Mawu besought Aido Hwedo to coil 
himself and lie beneath the earth to bear its weight. 
Then because Aido Hwedo cannot bear the heat, she 
caused the sea to be around him for his dwelling place. 
If he gets uncomfortable and shifts a little, there is an 
earthquake. As soon as his diet of iron bars under the 
sea is depleted, Aido Hwedo will begin to swallow his 
own tail, and on that day the world will fall into the sea. 

The rainbow’ serpent, Aido Wcclo, survives in both 
Surinam and Haitian vodun belief, ritual, and songs 
of invocation. In Haiti great care is taken never to arouse 
the jealousy of this deity. When a young couple wish 
to get married, if either of them is a devotee of Aido 
Wedo, he or she makes special offerings to allay what- 
ever jealousy or resentment the god might harbor. 
Parents and relatives also must "instruct" Aido Wedo 
not to harm or trouble the newlyweds. 

Aigamuxa (singular Aigamuxab) In Hottentot my- 
thology, a fabulous people will: eyes in the back of their 



feet: comparable to the ogres of European folklore. They 
cat human beings, ripping them apart with their 
extraordinarily long teeth. Jackal, the Hottentot trick- 
ster, found out where they kept their eyes, strewed 
tobacco dust where it would get into them, and thus 
escaped. Most of the Aigamuxa stories resemble ogre 
stories elsewhere, containing many of the familiar ruses 
by which clever victims escape the savage but stupid 

A’ikrcn In the Karok Indian language, he who 
dwells above: in Karok mythology, the Duck Hawk who 
lives on top of Sugarloaf Mountain and is guardian 
spirit to the village of Katimin. It was A'ikren who 
came to comfort the two maidens weeping for the death 
of their lovers. He led them through the thick brush to 
that place where the two youths were: and there the 
two girls saw their lovers stepping around before the 
deerskin dance just as they used to do. A'ikren left them 
there for a year but it seemed like only a day to them. The 
maidens did not want to go back, but the people gave 
them a portion of the salmon backbone meat of that 
place, and showed them how- to smear the mouths of 
the dead with it to revive them. When they returned to 
earth they showed the people this mystery, so that there 
was no more death among them for a time. But finally 
the salmon backbone meat gave out and now people die 
among the Karoks from time to time. But they do not 
grieve for their dead as they used to do. because of the 
knowledge revealed to the two maidens by A’ikren: how 
the people arc dancing in that place just as they used to 
do on earth. 

Ailill mac Matach In Old Irish legend, king of Con- 
nacht; husband of Medb; father of Findabair and the 
seven Manes. He emerges in the Tain Ho Cudilgne as 
the henpecked husband of Medb, who, however, praised 
him in the famous pillow-talk anecdote for being brave, 
without fear, without avarice, not churlish, and second 
to none in bounty. The pillow-talk quarrel ends with 
Ailill still stubbornly declaring that Medb has not more 
possessions than himself. In the Tain Bo Fracch Ailill's 
role is that of the wily king and stern father who op- 
posed the marriage of Findabair with Fracch to the 
point of tricking Fracch to his death, relenting only at 
the end of the story, when the restored Fracch promised 
to aid Connacht in the War for the Brown Bull. 

Aine In Old Irish mythology, a woman of the side 
(ban side) of Munster, daughter of Owel, foster son of 
ManannSn and a druid. The ancient story that she was 
ravished by a king of Munster, whom she killed with 
magic, survived into the 14th century legend of the 
fairy Aine and a mortal lover to whom she bore a 
famous son, Gerald, 4th Earl of Desmond. This Earl 
Gerald lives today deep in the waters of Loch Gnr, re- 
appearing every seven years to ride around the edge of 
it on a shining white horse. Munster families still claim 
descent from him. Knockainy, near Loch Gur in Mun- 
ster, is literally Cnoc Aine, the hill of Aine. Reminiscent 
of Aine in the role of minor earth goddess, associated 
with love, desire, and fertility, arc local tales of how 
once she planted that whole hill with peas in one night. 
She is still associated with the fertility observances on 
the hill on Midsummer Eve. Sec Celtic roi.Ki.oKE. 

Airavata In Hindu mythology, Indra’s elephant: 
guardian of one of the points of the compass. According 

to the MatangalUS, after the sun-bird, Garuda, came 
into existence, Brahma sang seven holy melodies over the 
two halves of the eggshell which he held in his hands. 
The first divine elephant to emerge from the shell in 
his right hand was Airavata. He was followed by seven 
more males and then by eight females which emerged 
from the other half of the shell which Brahma held in 
his left hand. These 16 became the ancestors of all 
elephants and the caryatids of the universe, supporting 
the world at the four cardinal points and the four inter- 
mediate points. 

According to the Mahabliarala, Airavata, a milk-white 
elephant, arose from the Churning of the Ocean. The 
original elephants and their offspring had wings and 
roamed the sky, until they -were cursed by an ascetic 
■whose class they interrupted by settling on the limb of a 
tree under which he was teaching. From that time on 
they were doomed to remain on the ground and serve 
men. White elephants today are believed to be endowed 
with the magic virtue of producing clouds. 

aire Literally, air. Fear of air as a cause of illness is 
general in Middle America. Evil spirits, unseen, may 
travel through the air, particularly cold air, and if it is 
inhaled a person may become sick. Hence, the stereo- 
typed picture of the Mexican Indian on a frosty morning 
with his blanket drawn up to cover his mouth and 
nose, [gmf] 

Airi In Indian folklore, a bhtit of the hills: the ghost 
of a man killed in hunting, who travels about with a 
pack of hounds. To meet the Airi presages death. His 
saliva is so venomous that it wounds anyone on whom 
it falls. If a man sees an Airi face to face, he will die of 
fright, but, if lie is fortunate enough to survive, he will 
be shown hidden treasures. Temples to the Airi are 
placed in solitary regions and he is worshipped for two 
weeks in the month of Chail (March-April). 

Aissaoua or Aisawa An ecstatic frenzied dance of the 
Aisawa (a Mohammedan saintly confraternity) of Biskra, 
Algeria. It is characterized by superhuman feats of 
whirling and self-mutilation on the part of the dervishes: 
cutting the flesh with knives, eating live coals, and 
other manifestations of the subjugation of the body and 
"loss of self” in religious ecstasy, [gpk] 

Aitvaras The house spirit, in the shape of a flying 
dragon, of Lithuanian folk belief and legend. He was 
first mentioned in 1547 and is common throughout the 
country still today. He brings to his master stolen goods, 
mostly com, milk, and coins, and when flying appears 
all fiery tail. In the house he is like a cock. He can be 
bought, or brooded from the eggs of a seven-year-old 
cock. Occasionally, he is just found, and because un- 
recognized, brought home, or he may be obtained from 
the devil for the price of one’s soul. He must be fed with 
omelet, and once in the house it is difficult to drive him 
away. Nevertheless, it is possible to slay him. A young 
bride, says a well-known legend, who was obliged to 
grind grain with a hand-mill, found that the basket 
was always full. Following clever advice, she discovered 
by the light of a sacred candle a cock vomiting the 
grains, and she killed him. The mistress of the house 
became very sad because this "cock” was the cause of all 
her wealth. The origin and meaning of the word aitvaras 
is unexplained. See Ajatar; puk. [jb] 



aba One of tlie most important spirits of Dahomey 
religion: protector of groups. Aim differ in kind but 
never in function; every sib, village, region, compound, 
and market place has its aim or guardian spirit and his 
mound or shrine; and aim mounds stand also at man) 
important crossroads. The sib aiza is believed to be the 
spirit of the founder of the sib, and his bones arc buried 
in the mound. To’aiza, protector of a village or region, 
is the spirit of the founder of that place; xwe’aiza is the 
spirit of a compound; ax’aiza, of the market place. 

Every aim mound is built over certain specific objects 
to insure a specific guardianship. For the establishment 
of an important sib aim, for instance, sometimes the king 
permits the sacrifice of one man and one woman, since 
it is the men and women of the sib the aim is to protect; 
for a regional aim, two men and two women are sacri- 
ficed, indicative of a larger group to be protected. A 
market aim must be built with the earth from seven 
well-known markets, and buried in it must be a frag- 
ment of each thing bartered or sold in that place; food, 
crops, cloth, metal, animals, and formerly slaves. The 
human sacrifices for the establishment of a new market 
aiza, are sometimes of great number, for the market is a 
royal institution in Dahomey, and they are believed to 
be sacrificed for the king himself. 

Prayers are made to the ax’aiza for good business and 
offerings of thanks for good business follow; verbal com- 
plaint or abuse and no offerings are given in return for 
bad business or no business. The mother of twins must 
bring them to market and "show” them to the ax'aiza 
with offerings, that they may be recognized as members 
of the group, and that she herself may become pregnant 
again. Various cult initiates also are taken to the market 
shrine when they come out of their prolonged training 
in the cult house. 

Ajatar or Ajattara The dragon; an evil female spirit 
of the woods who suckles snakes and produces diseases; 
the Devil of the Woods of Finnish folklore. In southern 
Estonia she is Ai or Aijo or Aijiitar, the mother or 
daughter of the devil. The word is used also as a curse. 
She is probably a borrowing from the Lithuanian (see 
Aitvakas). Any explanation connecting these two Finnish 
words with the Persian or Turkish ones is not con- 
vincing (see FUF XII, 1912, pp. 150-153). [jb] 

Aka-Kanet, Akakanct, or Alguc In the mythology of 
the Araucanian Indians of Chile, the power or deity 
enthroned in the Pleiades who sends fruits and flowers 
to the earth. Aka-Kanet is similar to Guecubu, the 
author of evil, perhaps the same deity in a dualistic 

akalo Sa’a and Ulawa (Solomon Islands) friendly ghost 
of the dead; also, the soul of a living man. Every person 
becomes an akalo when he dies and as such is invoked 
by his own people. The ghosts of chiefs, valiant fight- 
ing men, and men who have spiritual power, however, 
become li’oa. The living catch the ghost of a dead man 
with a miniature rod and put it into a relic case in a 
comer of the house which contains the skull, jawbone, 
tooth, or lock of hair of the deceased. Offerings are 
placed in these cases when someone is ill and at the 
first-fruit offering of the yam ban ; 

akbParuscarica Literalh, vi-man impcisonator: a 
term applied to the clow . „f ,hc Crow Indians. They 
arc not organized and no' monial, despite certain of 

their phallic actions. They use mud for their boa 
paint; their cloth masks are smeared with charent 
They ride the ugliest horses, with ridiculous caparivf ' 
They ridicule anything they wish, and perform riiiT' 
ulous dances, fall down, pretend to die laughing o ' 
of them, dressed as a pregnant woman, used to siniuh,' 
copulation with a "male" clown. At times they would 
introduce merriment into the hot dance, [gpk] 

Aklitya Chief of the yatus or sorcerers of Zoroas. 
trianism. [mws] 

akonda Literally, I fight; a gbo or magic charm of 
the Dahomey people, worn around the upper left arm. 
It gives the wearer strength for work or conflict It 
a circlet of woven raffia to which are attached tough 
hairs from the neck of the ram known as agbo. These 
are included because the ram is a good fighter. As he 
fastens the akonda on his arm, the wearer must sav 
"Akonda, when the ram goes to fight, he does not die 
in his place." (Herskovits Dahomey II, 263) 

akpou Literally, near the pocket: a gbo or magic 
charm of the Dahomey, carried by travelers to protect 
them against ghosts. It consists of a slender rod of iron 
dressed in a skirt. It has one flat pointed end, the other 
having a cuplike opening. The point is painted with 
black and white stripes, symbolic of the inherent power 
of the akpou to repel evil. This power resides in a cer- 
tain leaf plastered onto the shaft with kaolin under the 
skirt. Strong drink is fed to the akpoii through the cup- 
shaped end to excite its functioning powers. The traveler 
by night carries an akpou in one hand. If he meets a 
ghost he extends the akpou towards it, and the ghost 
does him no harm. (Herskovits Dahomey II, 266) 

Akupara In Hindu mythology, the tortoise upon 
which the earth rests. 

al In Armenian belief, one of a group of demons, half- 
animal, half-human, male or female, shaggy and bristly, 
who live in watery or damp places or in the corners of 
the stable or house: familiar figures in Armenian myths 
and folktales. Formerly the fil was a demon of disease, 
now it is a demon of childbirth who also steals seven- 
months children. It is fiery-eyed with snakclike hair, 
fingernails of brass, iron teeth, and it carries a pair of 
iron scissors. The al is believed to blind unborn children 
and to cause miscarriage. To keep als away, women arc 
surrounded with iron weapons and instruments. The 
king of the als is chained in an abyss and shrieks con- 
tinually. Sometimes the devs take over the functions of 
the als, stealing human children and leaving change- 
lings in their place. In Afghanistan the al is a woman 
about twenty years old with long teeth and nails and 
feet reversed who feeds on corpses, like the Hindu 

Aladdin The hero of the story "Aladdin and the 
Wonderful Lamp” which appears in most collections as 
a supplementary tale to the Arabian Nights Entertain- 

Aladdin, the ne’er-do-well son of a Chinese tailor, 
was enticed by a magician from Morocco to enter a cave 
and obtain a lamp. Before descending into the cave 
Aladdin was given the magician’s signet ring to keep him 
from hurt and fear. Returning with the lamp Aladdin 
loaded his pockets with the jewels, which he found 
growing on trees in the cavern. The magician refused to 



help him out of the cave, but demanded the lamp. 
Aladdin would not hand up the lamp, so the magician 
closed the entrance. 

Aladdin, in despair at not being able to get out of his 
underground prison, chanced to rub the ring given to 
him by the magician. Immediately the ring's attendant 
spirit appeared and at Aladdin's request transported 
him to the earth's surface. He learned the secret of the 
lamp also by chance (i.e. that rubbing it called up the 
jinni of the lamp to do the bidding of the possessor of 
the lamp) and used it henceforth to keep himself and his 
mother supplied with everything they needed, 

Aladdin fell in love with the Sultan's daughter, Lady 
Badr al-Buditr, and won her after meeting (with the aid 
of the jinni) the excessive demands made by her father, 
which included building overnight a pavilion contain- 
ing 24 windows made of precious stones. Meanwhile the 
Moroccan magician, having discovered that Aladdin had 
escaped from the cave and was the owner of the lamp, 
set out to retrieve it. He went up and down the streets 
crying, “Old lamps for ncwl who will exchange old 
lamps for new?" The princess gave him Aladdin's rusty 
lamp, not knowing its true value. The magician then 
commanded the jinni of the lamp to transport the 
pavilion and the princess to Africa. But Aladdin, aided 
by the jinni of the ring, soon retrieved the lamp through 
a ruse and killed the magician. 

The motifs of a magic object found in an underground 
room (D815). of a magic wishing lamp (D 1470.1. 1G). as 
well as of the lamp's loss and recovery and the loss and 
restoration of the palace (Type 5G0-5G8) appear in both 
Asiatic and European talcs. The scene of the magician 
and Aladdin at the cave, and the transporting of the 
svazir’s son and the princess to Aladdin's house on their 
wedding night, arc believed to be Arabic. The Arabic 
and several Indian versions also differ from the usual 
one in that the talisman is recovered by the devices of 
the hero. In many tales it is obtained from and later 
recovered by grateful animals. In a Bohemian story the 
hero saves a dog. cat, and serpent. The father of the 
serpent gives him an enchanted watch which procures 
a palace for the hero and the king's daughter as a bride. 
She, disliking her husband, uses tire watch to build her- 
self a palace in the middle of the sea. The dog and cal 
recover the talisman but drop it into the sea. It is 
restored by a fish. 

Alagliom Naom or Iztat lx In the mythology of the 
Tzentals of Chiapas, Mexico, the highest of goddesses, 
responsible for the mental and immaterial part of na- 
ture: the mother of wisdom. 

alalA A song type of Spanish Galicia, expressing in 
emotional terms the dreams and longings of farmers, 
teamsters, herdsmen, mothers rocking their babies, etc., 
and generally making use of the typical Spanish ballad 
stanza. The name is derived from the characteristic non- 
sense syllables found in the early examples of the type. 

alan Tinguian (Philippine Islands) spirits, half- 
human, half-bird, with toes and fingers reversed. They 
arc sometimes mischievous or hostile, but arc usually 
friendly. They arc described as hanging, batlike, from 
trees and as living in the forests. In Tinguian mythology 
and folktales they appear as the foster mothers of the 
leading characters and arc pictured frequently as living 
in houses of gold. 

Alasita A popular fiesta of the Aymara Indians, held 
in honor of Eq'cq'o, the good-luck fertility spirit. In 
Bolivia his image is kept in the people's houses, so that 
he may preside over all sex activity. Every year the 
Alasita festival is held in certain places where miniature 
houses for Eq'cq’o have been built and kept in constant 
repair. Inside these little houses the people place mini- 
ature clay farm animals and implements, household 
utensils, clothing, etc., as a sign to Eq'cq’o that they 
desire and need these things all the following year. A 
market is then pantomimed, during which these tiny 
objects are bought and sold for potsherds, stones, and 
other trifles, and given to the children for toys. Alasita, 
an Aymaran word meaning II uy from me is constantly 
uttered by the vendors. Sexual license among the young 
men and women is a feature, [am] 

albatross A large, web-footed sea bird (genus Dio- 
medeidr r) with very long narrow wings and extraordi- 
nary powers of flight. Albatrosses arc seen great distances 
from the land, chiefly in the southern oceans and the 
northern Pacific. Tales about the bird include the bcliel 
that it sleeps in the air because its flight appears mo- 
tionless, and that an albatross hovering about a ship 
brings continued bad weather. Coleridge's Ancient 
Mariner is based on the more common belief that to 
kill an albatross brings bad luck. 

Albcricli In Teutonic legend, the king of the dwarfs 
who lived in a magnificent subterranean palace studded 
with gems. Among his possessions were a belt of strength, 
an invincible sword, the Tnrnkappe or cloak of invisi- 
bility, and a magic ring. His subjects, the dwarfs, were 
master craftsmen who produced Odin’s ring. Draupnir, 
Sif's golden hair, and Freya’s necklace. They also manu- 
factured the sword Tyrfing which fought by itself. In 
the Nibclungcnlicd Albcricli was the guardian of the 
Nibclung hoard and gave Siegfried a cloak of invisibility 
and the sword called Balmung. 

Alburz The sacred mountain of ancient Persian 
mythology: the first of the mountains, around which the 
snn and moon revolved. Light shone out from it and 
light relumed into it, but on the mountain itself there 
was no dark. Mithra's dwelling was upon it, from which 
he watched the world. Zoroastrian legend holds that 
all other mountains grew from the root of Alburz. Al- 
burz was the mountain where dread came upon 
Talimurath. Here he was overcome, because of fear 
only, by the demon Angra Mainyu. 

alchemy The immature, empirical, and speculative 
chemistry characterized by the pursuit of the transmuta- 
tion of base metals into gold, the search for the alkahest 
and the philosopher's stone. Alchemy developed from a 
secret science belonging to the goldsmith’s craft into a 
mysterious science dealing with changes in the organic 
as well as the metallic world. Its history includes three 
distinct epochs: the Greek and Egyptian period, the 
Arabic period of the Middle Ages, and the modern 
period extending from the lGtli century to the present. 

In legend, alchemy was founded by Thoth (Hermes), 
by the fallen angels, or was revealed by God to Moses 
and Aaron. Historically it is believed to have originated 
in Egypt from where it spread to Greece and Rome and 
thence to Arabia. By the second century it had assumed 
a mystical and magical character; gods, patriarchs, and 


prophets were pressed into its sendee for greatness 
Ts theirs implied a knowledge of all mystenes. Adam, 
Abraham, and Moses were described as the true authors 

of alchemistic treatises. . 

The Arabs carried alchemy to Spam. From there t 
spread to western Europe through the medium of Latin 
translations of Ambic-Greek treatises. The fundamental 
theories of alchemy, developed by the Greeks, were 
modi Tied and elaborated by the Arabs. 

Paracelsus in the 16th century gave alchemy a new- 
goal by suggesting that its object was the preparation of 
medicines. Tiie discovery in the 20th century of the 
transmutation of radioactive elements has not produced 
the gold or silver from base metals sought by the 
alchemists (except as a laboratory' curiosity), but it has 
made it possible to break down elements or to produce 
new' elements in the laboratory' and factory essentially 
the goal of the alchemists. 

alchera or alcheringa The mythical past or dream 
time” of Australian mythology; the ancestral totemic 
ancestors who lived in that time and established the 
wotld and customs as they are now; also, any object 
associated with the totem; a term used especially by the 
central Australian Aranda (or Arunta). The Mumgin 
of Arnhem Land refer to the mythical past as Bamum 
when totemic ancestral spirits, the Wongar, lived. Great 
Western Desert tribes of West and South Australia called 
the period Tjukur. The Dieri call their ancestors Mura- 
mura. Other tribes have comparable terms for die 
mythical past and their totemic ancestors who lived 
then. See Australian aboriginal mytholocy. [kl] 

Aldebaran (Arabic A l Dabaran, the Follow'd) Orig- 
inally the name of the Hvades; now the reddish, bright- 
est star. Alpha in the constellation Taurus: the Follower 
who forever follows the Pleiades. It is also called the 
Eye of the Bull or the Bull's Eye. The French astron- 
omer, Camille Flammarion. designated it with the 
Hebrew - Alcph and called it God’s Eye. One of the most 
ancient indigenous Arabic names for this star is A1 
Fanik, the Stallion Camel; another is A1 Muhdij, the 
Female Camel; and the adjacent Hyades were 
the Little Camels. Aldebaran was worshipped as 
a bringer of rain by the tribe Misam. The Hindu name, 
Rohini, Red Deer, is probably from the star's red color- 
ing, Aldebaran, the "Broad Star,” is prayed to by Hopi 
Indian curers. In astrology Aldebaran is regarded as 
fortunate, and a portent oE wealth for those bom 
under it. 

alder A tree or shrub (genus Almis) characterized by 
short-stalked, roundish leaves and pendulous, reddish 
catkins: distributed throughout the north temperate 
zone and along the Andes in South America. In Norse 
mythology the first man and woman were made from an 
ash and an alder. In Brythonic mythology the alder was 
associated with Bran. Gwydion guessed Bran's name at 
the Battle of the Trees from the alder twigs in his hand: 
“Bran thou art, by the branch thou bearest"; and the 
answer to an old Taliesin riddle, "Why is the alder 
purple?" is, “Because Bran wore purple." In the Irish 
Tree Alphabet the letter F dean:) means alder, and in 
the Old Irish Song of the ’ • rest Trees it is described as 
"the very battlewitch , - Js." In Ireland the felling 
of an alder was former!. ■ nshablc, and is still avoided. 
It. is regarded with vo- awe probably because when 

cut the wood turns from white to red. In the Od 
die alder is one of the three trees of resurrection-"'^ 
Bran’s alder too was a symbol of resurrection w", 
alder is also one of the ancient Irish trees of divinnW 
used especially for diagnosing diseases. 

In Newfoundland an infusion of alder buds is 
mended for the itch and for rheumatism; and a nh 
lor burns is made with suet and aider bark. Newfoun ' 
landers also hold that mosquitoes breed in vour^ 

alectryomancy or alectxomancy Divination from ft. 
actions of a cock in a circle: an ancient practice. Grains 
were placed on the letters of the alphabet traced withi 
the circle. From the order in which the cock pided up 
the grains, the required word, name, or message vas 

alekoki One of the first standing hulas or olopa ti 
Hawaii. The Hindu influence is apparent in the fiuij 
gestures of hands, wrists, and elbows, with definite ex- 
pressive symbolism often identical with the mudras o! 
India. The purpose of these hulas is not erotic, but h 
intended to refresh the grace of the gods. The alekoklis 
a women's dance, [gpk] 

aleuromancy Divination from flour: an ancient prac- 
tice still more or less in use. Messages, written on slips 
of paper, are enclosed in balls of flour paste which are 
distributed at random after being mixed together. One 
of the epithets of Apollo was Aleuromantes. A modem 
variant may be found in the “fortune cakes" of the 
metropolitan Chinese restaurants. 

Alexander the Great Alexander III (356-323 B.C). 
son of Philip II of Macedon, conqueror of the world 
from the Nile to the Indus, is the great king-hero of the 
w-orld. Like ail folk heroes from Sargon and Gilgamcsh 
to Paul Bunyan and Joe Magarac, the Alexander of 
legend has drawn to himself tales and incidents origi- 
nally quite independent of actual historical fact, the 
whole building into one of the great epic structures: in 
fact, however, Alexander’s historical career is mote 
amazing than any of the apocryphal stories about him. 
An intelligent youth, tutored by none other than Aris- 
totle, Alexander ascended the throne at 20; by magnifi- 
cent strategy and military tactics, he conquered fiist the 
West and then the East; and he was dead at 33. 

He claimed descent from Hercules on his father's side, 
and from zEacus on his mother’s. This is confused with 
his reputedly being the son of Zeus Ammon; Alexander, 
who fostered the popular belief in his divinity, made it 
a point to undertake a hazardous expedition to Ammon's 
temple in the desert when he was in Egypt. His mother, 
Olympias, was a devotee of the Dionysian mysteries, and 
thus arose the legend that Alexander was the son of a 
snake. It is said that the strained relations between 
Olympias and Philip began w hen the king found a snake 
in his xvife’s bed. A sophisticated version of the story 
claims the Egyptian magician king Nectanebus as Alex- 
ander’s father. This Nectanebus had ruled Egypt, pro- 
tecting his kingdom by means of wax figures of his ene- 
mies’ forces, which he destroyed at need. Driven from 
Egypt, he set up as astrologer in Macedonia, and to him 
came the queen seeking information about an heir to 
the throne. Nectanebus told her to prepare for a visit 
from Zeus Ammon, donned a dragon costume to make 



the nocturnal call himself, and thus sited the ftituic con- 
queror. Philip, who cotdd count, is said to have been 
suspicious of these events, and Nectancbus once more 
dressed as a dragon to allay the king’s fears, lie came to 
his end at the hands of Alexander. Once, as he explained 
astrology to the 12-year-old Alexander, Nectancbus was 
pushed into a pit. the youth at the same time demanding 
whether lie had foreseen the event in the stars. Several 
other versions of the progenitors of Alexander arc 
known: the Persians, for example, make him the son of 
Darius, whom lie in fact conquered. 

The legendary career of Alexander is died with hun- 
dreds of familiar incidents of folklore. The taming of his 
black horse Bucephalus by leading him towards the sun 
when he alone recognized the animal’s fear of its own 
shadow; the meeting with Diogenes, the acid-tongucd 
philosopher, who asked the king of all the world to stand 
out of Ins light; the forcing of an involuntary, yet aus- 
picious "Thou art invincible" from the Pythoness at 
Delphi arc familiar anecdotes. Also connected with the 
Alexander story arc the general motifs 11552.1, hero car- 
ried aloft by two birds (lie directed them by means of a 
bit of liver attached to a spear and held before them), 
and N135.3.1. lie orders a feast, on his dying bed, for 
those who liaxc not known soriow, and none come to the 
feast. This is related to the motif of the cure with the 
shirt of the happy man (the only happy man that can 
be found is a beggar with no shirt) or the cure in the 
house where no death lias ever occurred. In Arabic leg- 
end, Alexander is a spreader of the True Faith, an 
iconoclast. He carries a black flag and a white, with 
which he can make night or day. He wars against the 
race of Gog and Magog, horrible savage pygmies, and 
builds a wall of iron and brass to keep them confined. In 
the Arabic talcs he is Zu-l-Qarnain, lie of the Two 
Horns, a figure generally conceded to be Alexander, al- 
though some say it is a contemporary of Abraham. This 
horned figure, the horns being those of Jupiter Ammon 
or of the hc-goat or symbolical of the rule of the East 
and the West, is central in the story of Kliidr, the Green 
One, svho became immortal. While Alexander was seek- 
ing the Fountain of Life, Kliidr, the cook of the expedi- 
tion (or the king's vizier), ivent off from the rest of the 
group to prepare a dried fish for the meal. As lie washed 
the fish in a pool, the fish came to life and swam off. 
Kliidr then drank or bathed in the svatcr and made him- 
self immortal, turning green at the same time. Alexander 
became jealous svhen the pool could not be rediscovered 
and tried to kill the underling. In vain lie attempted 
several methods, and finally threw Kliidr into the sea 
with a stone tied about his neck. Khidr became a sea 
deity and still lives. This tale appears in a somewhat 
garbled version in the Koran ( Sura xviii-Thc Cave). 
Familiar to folklore too is the City of Brass Alexander 
builds in a Persian talc, and so too is his method of ob- 
taining diamonds by tossing meat down into a valley 
and having eagles carry out the meat with the diamonds 
adhering to it. In medieval Christian legends, the ex- 
ploits oE Alexander in India include battles with gi- 
gantic ants and female cannibals, with six-headed giants, 
with one-legged dwarfs, with horses with human faces, 
and with dog-faced people. Also in Christian legend, 
Alexander tries to storm Paradise, but fails. In a Jewish 
story, Alexander reaches Paradise and is there instructed 
in the futility of human endeavor: the eye tries to take 

in all the universe and yet may be covered by a little bit 
of earth. 

Stories of Alexander are found among nearly all the 
peoples from India to the Atlantic Ocean. Most of these 
stem from the Sccretuvi Sccrctorum, a collection of writ- 
ings said to have been sent from Aristotle to Alexander 
after the teacher became too old to travel with his pupil. 
It is here that the famous story of Alexander and the 
poison damsel appears. This woik, coming from the writ- 
ings of the pscudo-Callisthcnes of the 3rd century A.D., 
was translated into practically every European language, 
and was the most widely read book of the Middle Ages. 
It has left its mark on every one of the European litera- 
tures; compaie the name Alexandrine for the typical 
12-syllablcd French verse line, the popularity of Alex- 
ander (Sandy) as a Scottish name, etc. Throughout the 
Moslem world, the legends of Iskander are legion. The 
story of Alexander is used in the SUahnama of Firdausi. 
In the Ethiopic version of the story, the Creek gods be- 
come the prophets of the Bible, and Alexander is an 
ascetic saint. In the Syrian stories, Alexander is a Chris- 
tian. In Moslem talcs, lie is one of the four great con- 
querors. with Nimrod, Solomon, and Nebuchadrezzar. In 
medieval Christian legend, he is not only Christian, hut 
a believer in the Trinity, and one of the Nine Cham- 
pions. Popularly, Alexander is one of the kings in the 
pack of cards. Alexander, in other words, from the time 
that lie influenced the myth of Dionysus, by having that 
god and culture hero’s itinerary extended to include 
India, down to the present day, has been the greatest of 
all folklore figures over a wider area than any other com- 
parable personage. Remodeled in the shape of the hero 
desired by the various peoples who interpreted the leg- 
end, lie remains today historically and traditionally 
without a peer. 

alfar The elves of Teutonic mythology. The Prose 
Edda divides them into two classes: the LiosAlfar, the 
light elves who live in Alfheim, and the DbckAlfar, the 
dark elves who live underground, Frey, the sun god, is 
lord of Alflieim. IVicland the Smith is often thought 
of as lord of the earth-dwelling ones, the Diickdlfar, be- 
cause of their confusion with the dwarfs. They arc quite 
distinct from the dwarfs, however. In medieval German 
legend /Elfrich or Alberich became king of the elves. 

The alfar possess great supernatural powers and arc 
often associated with the gods as aids and allies against 
their enemies. Especially arc they associated with Thor 
and with Holdc. Intimations of belief in their divinity 
arc seen in the fact that in earliest times a bull was some- 
times sacrificed for them, his blood let (low upon the elf- 
hill, and his flesh prepared for their feasting. See 

alfcrcz In the modern Andean Indian and mestizo 
communities of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, a person 
who assumes the financial responsibility for the religious 
feasts and ceremonies for one year. Tliis heavy burden 
is taken on only by the wealthiest individuals and they 
arc assisted by relatives and friends. As a symbol of his 
function the alfcrcz carries a flag, lienee his title, which 
in Spanish means flag-benrer. [am] 

Algol A bright white star, Beta in the constellation 
Perseus: called the Demon, or the Demon Star, from the 
Arabian Ras al Ghul, the Demon’s Head. It was inter- 
preted by Hipparchus and Pliny as the head of Medusa 



from the ark by Noah, the adoption of the Gregorian 
calendar, the Roman feast of Cerealia, the Indian festival 
of the Huli, the celebration of the vernal equinox, or 
the uncertainty of the weather at that time of year. 
Whatever its origin, the celebration of the day came 
into common custom in the 18th century in England. 
In Scotland it is called hunting the gowk (cuckoo). In 
France the person fooled is a poisson d’avril. The fool- 
ing includes "sleeveless” errands, April Fool candy, 
rubber mice, the pocketbook on a string, to fool the 

In Mexico All Fools’ Day falls on December 28 and 
centers around the borrowing of objects, if any person 
is foolish enough to lend, since items borrowed on that 
day need not be returned. A box of sweets or miniature 
objects, usually with a poem reminding the lender that 
he has been fooled, are sent instead. The day is popular 
in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, and Nor- 
way. In the latter two it is celebrated on the first and 
last days of April. 

allheal Any of a number of medicinal herbs, referred 
to also as heal-all in folk medicine. These names are 
given especially to valerian, self-heal, mistletoe, wound- 
wort, and yarrow. 

alligator A large reptile (order Crocodilia) found only 
in the southern United States and in the Yangtze River, 
China. It has a shorter, blunter snout than the crocodile, 
and is further differentiated by the fact that its lower 
molars clamp into pits in the upper, instead of into 
marginal notches. The reports of early travelers in this 
country constitute a mine of astonishing misinformation 
about alligators which might be classified as a whole 
folklore in itself. The alligator is soundless, for instance, 
or he roars habitually; he roars only in the spring; he 
makes a "hideous Noise against bad weather." Seeds 
from trees fall into the small crevices between his scales, 
germinate therein during his hibernation in the mud, 
and sprout in the spring, so that the alligator often 
resembles a small, wooded, swimming island. William 
Bartram's Travels (1791) describe the alligator thus: 
“Waters like a cataract descend from his opening jaws. 
Clouds of smoke issue from his nostrils. The earth 
trembles with his thunder." 

Like the crocodile, the alligator is the object of dread 
or reverence, propitiation, and worship in those regions 
where it is found, and plays an important role in folk 
belief, folktale, and “conjure.” An important god of the 
Chiriqui Indians of Panama is depicted in their ceramic 
and stone art with human body and legs and alligator 
head, or sometimes with human torso and an alligator 
head at each end. Typical are the bulging eyes of the 
god, mouth open to show the alligator teeth, and (in 
metal work) often a wire coil symbolizing the recurved 
snout. The Guarani Indians of Bolivia have an alligator 
ferryman who carries souls to the afterworld. In these 
instances the reference is probably to the closely allied 
native caiman. 

North American Choctaw Indians, especially the river 
tribes, also venerated the alligator and never killed it. 
The Chickasaw Indians have an alligator dance (hat- 
cuntcuba’ hila’) a night dance with three songs. A Creek 
Indian folktale tells how Eagle pounced down and broke 
Alligator’s nose in a ball game, Alligator opened his 
mouth, Turkey grabbed the ball out of it, and the birds 
won the game. Alligator retains a dent on his nose to 

this day. An Alabama Indian story. Rabbit Fools Alli- 
gator, tells how Rabbit, the trickster, tricks Alligator 
into a field of dry grass and sets fire to it. Another Ala- 
bama Indian tale, Benevolent Alligator, narrates how 
Alligator grants a certain man two wishes in gratitude 
for being carried on the man’s back and put in the water. 

South Carolina Negro folktale attributes Alligator’s 
scaly skin to his being trapped in a fire by Brer Rabbit. 
This is almost a direct retelling of a Rhodesian Negro 
crocodile story. It would be interesting to know if the 
Alabama Indian tale, Rabbit Fools Alligator, is of 
Negro provenience. An Alabama Negro folktale de- 
scribes how Rabbit, wishing to cross a swamp, induced 
Alligator to line up his whole family, “one by one across 
the swamp,” to be counted. On the pretext of counting, 
Rabbit walked across the swamp on their backs, but the 
last alligator bit his tail off. This same story is told of 
the Indonesian crocodile with mousedeer as trickster, 
and in Japan with the monkey as trickster. A Louisiana 
story explains why Alligator has no tongue. Alligator, 
who once could whistle, talk, and bark “just like a dog 
do now,” loaned his tongue to Dog, who wanted to make 
an impression at a party. But Dog never returned the 
tongue to Alligator, and that is why Alligator goes for 
any dog that comes to the bank of the river. Gullah 
Negroes believe that when the alligator roars he is call- 
ing for rain and that rain will come. 

alligator teeth In many folklores alligator teeth are 
believed to be especially efficacious against poison, pain, 
witches, etc., and are used as potent ingredients in magic 
and “conjure.” Sea Island Negroes will sometimes tie a 
necklace of alligator teeth around the neck of a teething 
baby to alleviate the pain. Such a necklace is also a pro- 
tection against witches. A visiting nocturnal witch, for 
instance, would have to stop and count every one of the 
teeth before she could proceed with her evil business, 
and day would surely come before she counted the last 
one. In many localities alligator teeth are believed to 
counteract poison; even the South American Abipon and 
Mocovi Indians would press a caiman tooth against a 
snake bite to heal the wound, or wear one (or many) 
around the neck to avoid being bitten. Alligator teeth 
are active ingredients also of many a charm, conjure 
bag, and hoodoo “hand” of southern United States 
Negroes; they are also known to be an important inclu- 
sion in the bags of New Guinea sorcerers. 

Allison Gross A popular Scottish ballad (Child #35) 
in which Allison Gross, the ugliest witch “i the north 
country” endeavored to seduce a fine young man. Be- 
cause he repulsed her, she turned him into an ugly 
worm "to toddle about the tree.” But the queen of the 
fairies, riding by on Hallow-even, broke the spell and 
changed him back to his “ain proper shape.” This is the 
only known instance, in English or Scottish folklore, of 
a fairy unspelling the spell of a witch, although numer- 
ous ballads are concerned with the spelling and unspell- 
ing of evil enchantments. 

All Saints, All Saints’ Day, AU-hallows, or All hallow- 
mas November 1: the festival commemorative of all 
saints and martyrs known or unknown, introduced by 
Pope Boniface IV in the 7th century probably to sup- 
plant the pagan festival of the dead. Originally it was 
observed on May 13 but was shifted to the November 
date by Gregory III and has been retained by the Church 




o£ England and many Lutheran churches. In the Greek 
Church it is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pente- 
cost. Most folk customs center around AUhallow Even 
or Halloween. Compare Ai.l Souls. 

AU Souls or All Souls’ Day November 2: a day of com- 
memoration in the Roman Catholic Church on which 
special intercession is made for the souls of the dead in 
the belief that those not yet purified sufficiently will be 
aided by the prayers of the living. The day was insti- 
tuted as a memorial in 993 by Odilo, Abbot of Cluny, 
after he was told by a pilgrim returning from the Holy 
Land about an island on which an opening to the in- 
fernal regions permitted travelers to hear the groans of 
the tormented. By the end of the 13th century the day 
was almost universally observed. During the Reforma- 
tion it was abolished in the Church of England, but its 
tradition and customs survived among Continental 

Essentially, All Souls is the adaptation of an almost 
world-wide custom of setting aside a part of the year 
(usually the last part) for the dead. The Babylonians 
observed a monthly Feast of All Souls in which sacrifices 
were made by priests. The Greek commemorative feast 
of All Souls was held on the last day of the Anthcstcria; 
the Romans celebrated theirs during the Parentalia 
which felt on Feb. 13-21, the end of the Roman year. 
The Buddhist Feast of the Dead is celebrated on April 
15, the date of the death of Buddha and his attainment 
of Buddhahood. In China and Japan the ceremony in 
honor of the dead is known as tire Feast of Lanterns. 

In many Catholic countries the belief that the dead 
return on this day is so strong that food is left on the 
tables (Tirol, Italy) and people (France, Italy, Germany) 
still decorate the graves of their dead. 

almanacs These compilations of calendar and astro- 
nomical data (ephemerides) and miscellaneous informa- 
tion, wit, wisdom, and humor, originating in the 2nd 
century A.D., have taken a variety of forms, including 
prophetic, farmer’s, Christian, patent-medicine, comic. 
World (statistical and encyclopedic) almanacs. The al- 
manac's first link with folklore consisted of astrology, 
serving as the basis both of predictions and prognostica- 
tions and of the doctrine of planetary influences in medi- 
cine and surgery. Long after people had ceased to take 
these superstitions seriously, the Man of the Signs (homo 
signorum), or Moon's Man, or the Anatomy— "a figure 
of a man surmounted by the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, 
each referred to some part of his body by means of a 
connecting line or a pointing dagger”— continued to 
adorn almanacs as a trademark or colophon. 

This outmoded lore, however, was gradually replaced 
by the practical lore of weather, crops, health, cookery, 
manners, etc., with medical advice, agricultural hints, 
and recipes, supplementing the usual almanac data on 
rising and setting of the sun, phases of the moon, eclipses, 
tides, storms, and holidays. Out of the miscellaneous 
useful information on postage rates, values of coinage, 
courts, roads, post offices, military fin, t, ulation of 
towns and countries, etc., developed ti almanac of the 
fact-book type. In another direction, ;\e entertaining 
lore of popular poetry, anecdotes, jests, enigmas, riddles, 
maxims, etc., passed into the comb almanac and the 

Through interleaved jottings >d family and local his- 

tory. observations of weather, records of crops, expend; 
tures, etc., the almanac became a valuable source of social 
history and "folk history.” Through the medium of the 
allegory and proverb (the former seen especially in Th- 
[Old] Former’s Almanack of Robert B. Thomas, eslab. 
lished in 1793 and still published, and the latter in Poor 
Richard’s Almanack, edited by Ben Franklin from jjjo 
to 1757) the almanac made important contributions to 
native American humor and proverbial lore. 

Continuing in the jest-book tradition, with the addi. 
tion of the oral tradition of the fireside and campfire 
yarn, the comic almanac (probably originating in u lc 
burlesque of the serious almanac and its prophetic ab- 
surdities) was an important link in the development of 
native American humor of tall talk and tall tale, a s 
notably in the Crockett almanacs (1835-1836). 

Kittrcdge. George Lyman, The Old Former and His Al- 
manack. Boston, 1901. 

Romkc, Constance, Dairy Crockett. New York, 1931. 
Dotson, Richard M., Davcry Crockett, American Comic 

Legend. New York, 1 939. 

B. A. Botkiv 

ahnond A small tree ( Primus amygdalus) native to 
western Asia, Barbary, and Morocco, but now culthatcd 
widely in the warmer temperate regions. 

In the Bible the almond is referred to as the shaked 
or slicked meaning "to waken" or "to watch," probably 
because it is the first tree to flower (January) in Palestine 
(Jer. i, 11, 12). Aaron's rod (.Yu m. xvii, 10) was cut from 
an almond tree. In tlic story of Tannhauscr Pope Urban 
exclaimed after hearing the minnesinger's talc, "Guilt 
like yours can never be forgiven! Before God himsdf 
could pardon you, this staff tliatl hold would grow green 
and bloom!" Tannhauscr returned to the Horsclbcrg. 
Three days later the Pope's staff suddenly put forth al- 
mond (lowers and leaves. The Tope sent messengers to 
search for Tannhauscr but lie could not be found. 

In Greek legend, I’hyllis. daughter of the Thracian 
king Sithon, fell in love with Dcmophon, son of The- 
seus. Dcmophon returned to Attica to settle his affairs 
before the wedding and was delayed so long (according 
to one story by interest in another maiden) that Phyllis 
put an end to her life. The gods, as a token of their ad- 
miration for her constancy, changed her into an almond 
tree. IVbcn Dcmophon Finally returned and learned 
what had happened lie fell at the foot of the tree and 
watered its tools with his tears whereupon it burst into 

In Phrygian cosmogony an almond figured as the 
father of all things, and in the myth of Attis, Nana con- 
ceived him by putting a ripe ahnond in her bosom, or by 
eating an almond. 

Pliny's Natural History states that eating five almonds 
permits one to drink without experiencing intoxication, 
but that if foxes cat them they will ilic unless they find 
water nearby. In the 16th century pills compounded of 
almonds, liver, and oil of violet were recommended by 
Gugliclmo Gratarolo to travelers in areas where food 
and drink were scarce. 

The almond is used as a divining rod in Tuscany. 
Church legend assigns the tree to the Virgin. Moslems 
rcprd it as the hope of heaven ami use almond paste, 
mixed with the miik of a mother who lias a baby girl, to 
cure trachoma. 



alo Yoruba term for folktales and also for riddles. The 
more or less general African synonymity of folktale and 
riddle carries over also into Netv World Negro dialect 
and tradition. In the Sea Islands off South Carolina a 
tale is a riddle, a riddle is a tale. “How you split de 
diffunce between riddle an' story?" said one Sea Island 
narrator, when questioned. "Dere is singin’ in a story.” 
(Mr. Jack in Folklore of the Sea Islands. MAFLS, vol. 16, 
p. xix.) Compare itan. See African and New World 
Negro folklore. 

Aloada: In Greek mythology, the giants Ephialtes 
and Otus, twin sons of Poseidon and either Iphimedeia 
or the Earth-Mother, who imprisoned Ares in a bronze 
pot. When they were nine years old the twins, who 
measured nine cubits in breadth and nine fathoms in 
height, threatened to do battle with the Olympian gods, 
planning to pile Mount Pelion upon Mount Olympus 
and Mount Ossa upon Pelion so that they might reach 
the heavens. Apollo, however, killed them before they 
were able to carry out their plan. In the Iliad they 
sought Artemis and Hero in marriage, but Artemis 
tricked them into killing each other. In some legends the 
Aloada; were beneficent beings, founders of cities and 
rescuers of their mother and sister. 

’Alo’alo In the religion of the Tongans of western 
Polynesia, the god of wind, weather, vegetation, and har- 
vest; son of the sun: the “fanner.” 

aloes The term as used in the Bible (Num. xxiv, 6; 
Ps. xiv, 8; Prov. vii, 17; Cant, iv, 14; John xix, 39) refers 
to the gum of the Aloexylon, Aquilaria ovata, and Aqui- 
laria agallochum which are not true aloes. Aloes were 
used medicinally by the Romans. They were used in the 
Middle Ages in suffumigations and magic compounds. 
In the 16th century they were used in medicines. In 
India aloes arc used in the treatment of eye infections, 
and modem Americans sometimes paint babies’ fingers 
with an extract of aloes to stop finger-sucking or nail- 
biting. In Egypt an aloe plant is hung over the door of a 
newly built house to insure long life and success to the 
occupants and the house. The aloe will live thus for two 
or three years without water or earth. 

alomancy (more properly halomancy) An ancient 
method of divination using salt. From the flames of a 
lire into which salt has been thrown, the diviner reads 
the message he seeks. The present-day custom of throw- 
ing a pinch of salt from an overturned saltcellar over 
the left shoulder may be connected with this. 

alphabet rimes A mnemonic and usually acrostic de- 
vice to assist children and other illiterates in learning 
letters of the alphabet. The idea is at least as old as the 
119th Psalm, which consists of 22 eight-verse sections 
corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, 
with every verse in each section beginning with a word 
whose first letter is, for instance, in section one, "aleph,” 
section two, “beth,” and so on. There are several other 
acrostic alphabets in the Hebrew scriptures (See Enc. 
Eel. & Ethics, vol. I, p. 75) notably in the well-known 
description of a virtuous woman in Proverbs xxxi, 10-31, 
in memorizing which the Jewish girl learned both vir- 
tue and the alphabet. 

Chaucer's “A. B. Cl’ (c. 1375), a poem in honor of the 
Virgin Mary-, is the oldest extant alphabet rime in Eng- 
lish, but it was taken from a French original, Pdlerinage 

dc la vie humaine, by Guillaume dc Deguilleville, writ- 
ten a half-century before. 

Two very old alphabet rimes are still repeated by 
children today. The popular Tom Thumb’s Alphabet 
contains the lines: 

A was an Archer, who shot at a frog; 

B was a Butcher, who had a great dog; . . . 

I was an Innkeeper, who loved to bouse; 

J was a Joiner, who built up a house; . . 

Here the age of the rime is betrayed by the riming of 
"bouse” with “house," whereas we now pronounce and 
even spell it “booze.” Later in the alphabet the use of 
Tinker, Usurer, and Vintner, to say nothing of “Zany, a 
poor harmless fool,” confirm our suspicion that Tom 
Thumb’s Alphabet is at least 300 years old. Perhaps not 
quite so old, but of respectable age and well worn by use 
is the Apple-pie Alphabet, beginning: 

A was an Apple-pie. 

B Bit it. 

C Cut it. 

D Dealt it. 

E Eat it. . . . 

The use of “eat” (pron. ett) instead of “ate” for the past 
tense goes back to colonial days in New England, where 
they were then using in learning their “A. B. abs” an- 
other more pious rime from the New England Primer 
which began with: 

In Adam’s fall 
We sinned All, 

and ended with: 

Zaccheus he 
Climb up a tree 
His Lord to see. 

(And don’t let anyone tell you it should be “Did climb a 
tree” with a long i in climb. It is short i for the past 
tense, for I got it by oral tradition through 12 genera- 
tions from Elizabethan England.) 

The “Peter Piper” who “Pick’d a Peck of Pickl’d Pep- 
pers” is the sole stanza now known to our children from 
a merry alphabet rime popular in England and America 
in the early 18th century, beginning: 

"Andrew Airpump Ask’d his Aunt her Ailment,” 
and running through such exciting adventures as that 
of "Matthew Mendlegs" who "Miss’d a Mangl’d Mon- 
key,” and "Needy Noodle” who "Nipp’d a Naybour’s 

In 1833 Thackeray composed and illustrated one of 
these alphabet rimes for “Little Eddy” who until he died 
in 1915 at the age of 86 could still recite the whole poem 

Great A; it is an Animal & called an Alligator. 

Its countenance will shew you, that it's of a cruel 


But Col. Edw. Fred'k Chadwick preferred to say the P: 

P is a Pimple— ’tis a thing which grows 

Sometimes upon a luckless Parson’s nose. 

( The Thackeray Alphabet, Harper, 1930.) 

Contemporary with Thackeray was Edward Lear, who 
composed for another little Eddy, who became the I5th 
Earl of Derby, some of the world’s most famous children’s 
rimes, including many alphabet verses. With Lear, A 
was sometimes an Ape who stole some white tape, or an 
Ant •who seldom stood still, or even an "Absolutely 

alphabet SONG 

Abstemious Ass.” (The Complete Nonseme Book, Dodd 

Mend, 1934.) . . 

Of the Hood of modem alphabet rimes the most in- 
teresting are the ones in Lois Lenski’s Alphabet Feop c, 
(Harper, 192S) where occupations are featured, as: 

A for Artist in a smock 
With brushes, paints galore: 

She hangs her paintings on the wall 
And then she paints some more. 

With these I place the clever The Jaw-Breaker's Al- 
phabet by Eunice and Janet Tietjens (A. & C. Boni, 1930) 
with its intriguing: 

A’s for Archaeopteryx 

Of whom perhaps you’ve heard, 

The up-and-coming reptile 
Who first became a bird. 

Nor can we well omit ”A Moral Alphabet in Hilaire 
Belloc’s Cautionary Verses (A. A. Knopf. 1911) where: 

A stands for Archibald who told no lies 
And got this lovely volume for a prize. 

Charles Francis Potter 

Alphabet Song An occupational song of sailors, giving 
the names of the parts of a ship in abecedarian order, 
and forming a sort of catechism for the greenhorn. This 
is an example of an ancient type of song outlining facts 
or principles to be memorized, a similar one being sung 
by woodsmen of the northeastern United States to the 
same air, cataloging the tools and tricks of the logger's 

alphorn A long wooden trumpet, four to 12 feet long, 
used in the Alps for centuries to call herds, for signal 
over long distances, and for sunset rites. The pitch is 
controlled by lips and breath, rather than by stops, and 
the few traditional tunes, also sung as kuhreihen or ranz 
dcs vachcs, show signs of archaism. The word lobe used 
in some of the songs is of magical significance and prob- 
ably imitative. The tone is strong, audible for miles, 
and is believed to prolong the light of day when twilight 
draws on. The period of dusk was thought to be danger- 
ous for men and herds, and the sounding of the 
alphorn, or imitation of its tone with the voice, teas pro- 
tection against the dangers of transition. In some areas 
Christianity has added the singing of the evening prayer 
as the instrument sounds. Similar sunset practices arc 
observed in Norway, Poland, Rumania, India, South 
America, and Australia. 

alraun The German name for the mandrake root or 
for a similar root such as that of bryony used in magic 
as a substitute. Small good-luck images shaped from 
these roots are also alrauns; and so is the helpful elf or 
goblin associated with both. This goblin was one foot 
high, was kept in a cupboard, and fed on inilk and 

Alsirat, al-Sirat, or AI Sirat In Moslem religion and 
legend, the bridge and only way to paradise over the 
abyss of hell. It is sharper titan a sword, narrower than 
a spider’s thread, and beset on either side by briars and 
hooked thorns. The good traverse it with ease and swift- 
ness; the wicked miss their footing and fall into hell. In 
later Moslem eschatology tin- ' .hige is described as the 
length of a journey of SC : sears. The righteous pass 
over « quickly, but less per<ect Moslems take longer to 

- ___J0 

traverse it, the length of time required depending Upo 
the degree of sin committed. In the Koran, it i s the 
row path or correct way oi religion. 

Altjira In the religion and mythology 0 [ the Arune, 
of Australia, the sky-dweller or All-Father who is gen- 
erally considered to be indifferent to mankind. 

alum In modem Egypt, a charm against the o;i 
eye. A piece about the size of a walnut is placed upoa 
burning coals and left until it has ceased to bubble while 
the first and last three chapters of the Koran arc r e . 
pealed three times. When the alum is removed from the 
fire it will have assumed the shape of the person whose 
malice is feared. It is then pounded and mixed in food 
fed to a black dog. A piece of alum ornamented with 
tassels is sometimes attached to a child’s cap as a pro- 
tective amulet. 1 

Negroes of the southern United States use alum to 
stop bleeding, to cure blindness, and to cure cltickensof 
cholera. Used with blucstonc it is belies cd to cure 
gonorrhea; boiled with poke root and salt it is used as 
a liniment for rheumatism. Sucking a ball of alum is be- 
lieved to be effective in preventing harm from con- 

Alviss Literally, All-Wise: in the lay of Alriss in the 
Elder Eddn, the underground dwarf who sued for the 
hand of Thrud, Thor’s daughter. Thor was against the 
match, but said he would not refuse his daughter if 
Alviss could answer certain questions. Alviss, just hav- 
ing run through nine worlds, thought he would know- all 
the answers and consented to answer the questions. So 
Thor put his 13 questions: what is the name of the 
world, the sky, the moon, sun, clouds, wind, calm, fire, 
sea, trees, night, wheat, beer, in all the worlds of the 
ncsir, vanir, giants, elves, and gods. Alviss knew all this 
and easily answered. Then Thor revealed his trick: the 
spicstions and answers had occupied the night; the sun 
was already in the room; Alviss had to hurry olf with 
the light of day or he petrified. This is one of the oldest 
of the world’s riddling suitor-test stories, except in this 
ease tlsc successful risldlcr did not get the girl. 

Amaddn Literally, fool: the fool of the side, or the 
fairy fool of Irish folklore, whose touch is incurable. 
Those whom he touches forever after have a crooked 
jaw or twisted face (facial paralysis) or suffer crippling 
injury, or else die soon. For this reason the amaddn is 
also often called the stroke lad. June is the time one is 
snost in danger from him; June is the month svhen the 
Fool is most apt to give his stroke. Lady Gregory says "If 
you don’t say ’The Lord betsveen us and harm’ when you 
meet him, you arc done for, forever and always." A 
young girl who passed by his castle ( bruidcan ) one night 
was crippled forever after. But it is equally well known 
that he often punishes wrong deeds with his stroke, for 
once he struck a miser who was mending shoes on Sun- 
day. Ainndan Mur is the Great Fool of the fairy host of 
Irish folktale and poetry. Amadin na hruidne, the fool 
of the fairy mounds or fairy palaces, is greatly feared. 

Amnethon or Amathaon In Brythonic mythology, a 
son of DOn mentioned in Kulhwch and O keen, which 
tells the story of the field impossible to till, tilled by 
Amaethon. His name is basically Cymric amacth, plow- 
man, and for ibis reason lie is often interpreted as an 
agricultural god or culture hero. This role is further 



substantiated by a later sroiy in which he biought barl. 
to this world a tot-buck and a young dog belonging to 
Arnwn, lord of Aunwfn, the Othcrworld. See lUnu: or 
Tin: Trixs. 

Ant ala In Tsimsltian mythology, the supporter of the 
world. The world is flat and circular and turns contin- 
ually on the end of a long pole which Atnala supports 
on his chest. Ilis prerlccessor was an old chief who lived 
on an island in the vast southwest sea. The old chief, ill 
and dying, ltcatd of Atnala's sttpet natural strength and 
sent for him to take over the task. Atnala came, lay down 
beside the aged chief, and the old man transferred the 
polc of-lhe-world to Atnala’s chest. Atnala still holds the 
world on his chest, but when he dies the world will end. 

This is the final incident in a long story altout Atnala 
or Very Dirty (literally the wottl means ’smoke hole’), 
involving, in addition to the Atlas motif, both the 
youngest sott and Cinderella themes in varying degree. 
Atnala or Very Dirty was the youngest of a number of 
htotlicts. He slept late, took no part in family activities, 
was ridiculed, named Dirty, thought weak and vvoitli- 
less, hut secretly actpiitcd supernatural strength, per- 
formed the impossible, such as pulling up trees and sav- 
ing bis relations from their enemies. 1 !c then completed 
the big animals, the strong ttces. the strong birds, anil 
the big mountain, ami was chosen to take rare of the 
wot Id. The stnty partakes of the Cindetrlla theme in 
that Amain slept in the ashes, note only one ragged 
deerskin, was disregarded or tidirulrtl by the test of the 
household, was unhappy almut his lot. received super- 
natural aid. astounded one and all with his beauty and 
prowc", and was eventually chosen to fill a superior 

There arc eight variants of this story among the 
Tsimsltian, Nass, Skldcgatc. Knigani, Massrt, and Tlingit 
tribes. The cattlr on the pole idea is limited to the 
Tslmshians, Tlingits, Skidcgatc-s. and Hates. The svhitc 
man’s influence is suspected, hut not assumed, by J. R. 
Swanton, in the fuming of the earth upon the pole idea: 
but no doubts are cast on the originality of Amala’s 
having a big spoonful of grease for the pole to turn in, or 
his sustaining his own strength for the task ss-itli annual 
anointings of wild-duck oil. 

Amalthn-a or Amalthea In Creek mythology, the goat 
who provided milk for the infant Zeus while he was 
hidden in Crete. One of the horns of Amnllh:r.i. re- 
putedly broken off by Zeus, became the cornucopia or 
horn of plenty. 

Amaravat) In Indian my thology, the capital of Svarga, 
Indra's Heaven, situated near Mount Merit. 'Hie city has 
a thousand gates, is decked with the fruits of desire 
(jewels, objects of vanity and pleasure), and adorned by 
the Apsa rases. There is neither heat nor cold, grief nor 
despondency: to it come those ss-ho do penance or sacri- 
fice, and the warriors who fall in battle. 

amaslado A popular term for the type of extra-legal 
mating found among Ilrariiian Negroes, tin’s word is de- 
rived from the verb omosiar-sc, which is a synonym for 
anmnccbnr-sc, this giving the svord nmancebido the more 
literary designation for this kind of relationship. 

The institution it designates is that found in the 
lower socio-economic strata of all Afroamcriran groups 
whose patterns of family life have been studied from tire 
ethnological point of view. Terms recorded for its coun- 

terparts arc as follows, the word in each rase being that 
most often encountered, without indication ns to whether 
it refits to the situation itself, or to the participant: 
arrimao,(ariimado)— Cuba; company:!— Curasao; plumage 
—Haiti: endamnda— Honduras (lllack Caribs); kcepcis— 
Trinidad; commonlaw (verb, to commonlaw)— United 
States. All these forms arc socially sanctioned, even 
though, for the woman, they catty less prestige than 
marriage, as mating in accordance with legal formalities 
is always termed, in contradistinction to them. 

To tmdctstaml the significance of family gioupings of 
this kind, it is essential that the economic and social 
position of women he taken fully into account, since 
this has struck all students of the New Woilil Negro 
family. The woman’s primacy, whether as grandmother, 
mother, or atmt, contrasts strikingly with patterns of the 
majority groups among whom the Negro lives. She is the 
focus of the family group, and, where llirrc Is no male 
head, its provider. She wields authority over Itv members, 
and is thus characteristically to he termed the significant 

This does not mean that matings of this kind arc hap* 
hararrl. They are always distinguished, by verbal sym- 
liol, from transient relationships in the same societies. 
They arc entered into with an assumption of perma- 
nence, which they obtain to a degree surprising to out- 
siders. In ilrnril, aittnsiado matings of lifetime dura- 
tion ate not uncommon, and numerous Instances of 
twenty years’ dotation and upwards have been recorded. 
In such rases, the place of the father licrntnrs of increas- 
ing fui|M>i tatter; and even where a couple separate, his 
relations with his children may continue warm, and lie 
will in many instances contribute to their support. 

This institution is to he referred to the dominant 
family form of those parts of Africa from which New 
World Negroes were derived. The nucleus of this sysicnr 
is the woman’s hut within the polygynmis comftotmd. 
headed by the common husband, who lives in his own 
hut whrie his wives cohabit vvith him in turn. The con- 
tinuation of the polygynmis household, like that of the 
wider social groupings of extended family and sib, all 
male-dominated, was rendered impossible by circum- 
stances of slavery in the New World. This left the 
nuclear woman-dominated group as the one on which 
the Negroes could build, since in it were retained not 
only a traditional form, hut the emotional focus that it 
manifested in Africa. 

This would also explain why, though a deviant from 
legally sanctioned norms, this New World family type 
is in no way to he considered as an index of the de- 
moralisation of those societies where it is formed. No 
stigma attaches to chililten born of matings of this sort, 
nor to those party to it. It is thus to he considered ns a 
mode of adjustment and as a means by which social 
stability has been retained despite the difficulties of life 
experienced by Negroes in adjusting to slavery and to 
various post-slavery regimes. M. J. Hi pJKOvns 

Amntcrnui Omikaml The Japanese Sim Goddess: also 
called Tensho Daijau in Sino-Jnpanese pronunciation. 
See roLKiottr. (ji.m) 

Ama-tsn-mara In the Shinto religion and mythology 
of Japan, tile cvclopcan blacksmith gml who. with Islii- 
Kori-douic. made the solar mirror which vvas used in en- 
ticing out of the cave in which she had taken 


Amazon In Greek mythology, one of a race of female 
warriors who lived on the north coast of Asia Minor 
with their capital, according to Herodotus, at Thc- 
miscyra. From there they invaded at various rimes 
Thrace, the islands of the zEgean, Greece, Syria, Arabia. 
Egypt, and Libya. The Amazons were ruled by a queen. 
To prevent their race from dying out once a year they 
visited the neighboring Gargarcans. Their gill children 
were brought up and trained in the pursuits of war, 
riding, hunting, and agriculture. According to sonic, 
each girl had her right breast cut oft in order to handle 
arms more freely, from which custom arose the common 
ancient derivation of the name "a-mazos, without 
breast. However, since no work of art shows the Amazons 
without breasts, other etymologies, none quite satisfac- 
tory, have been suggested. The boys were sent to the 
Gargarcans, put to death, blinded, or maimed. 

Folktales and myths of women warriors arc found 
among the people of India (“Story' of King Vikrama- 
ditya," for example, in which the king dreams of the 
man-hating Princess Malayavati), in Arabia, England, 
Ireland, and among the Makurap of the upper Guapord 
River, Brazil. The Makurap believed that a village not 
far from their territory, called Arapinjatschakup, was 
inhabited only by warlike women who kept men at bay. 

The Koniag Eskimos of Kodiak Island have several 
woman-warrior tales, among them one in which a girl 
was abandoned by parents who were too poor to feed 
her. An old man came and told her to drink from the 
river. When her strength had increased the old man 
(strength-giver) disappeared and the girl became a 
huntress. There are four footprints on a certain cape of 
that region which arc said to be hers. Later she went to 
her family's camping place and outshone her brothers 
who became jealous. They attempted to trick her, took 
away her arrows, and left her. She gnawed the flippers 
of a seal until only the nails were left and then used 
these to shoot otters. She grew very handsome and 
finally married. While she was hunting at sea a storm 
came up, so she cut off her female parts and threw them 
into the sea, calming the waters. Sec Hercules. 

amber A cloudy or translucent yellowish to brownish 
fossilized resin of coniferous trees of the Oligocenc epoch, 
found along the coasts of England, of the Baltic Sea, in 
Sicily, Rumania, Burma, and Yunnan, China. The great- 
est amber-producing region is in East Prussia. 

Amber is second only to the pearl in the antiquity of 
its use. Strings of rough amber beads were worn even in 
prehistoric times. The resin was carried down the Elbe 
and Moldau trade route, through the Rhone valley to 
the Mediterranean, and to the British Isles. Such trade 
is believed to have flourished before 2000 B.C. Amber 
has been found in early Minoan strata in Crete; Homer 
mentions the flourishing Phomician amber trade; and 
Pliny chides Sophocles for his falsehoods concerning it. 
According to Apollodorus its origin is in poplar trees. 
The Romans used it for throat infections and to prevent 

In Greek legend, amber was a concretion of the tears 
shed at the death of Meleager by his sisters. In Scandi- 
navian mythology, it was the tears shed by Freya when 
Odin wandered out into the world. To the Chinese, 
amber was the soul of the titei transformed into the 
mineral after death. They i" ■ as a symbol of courage 
and attributed medicinal -~v- to it. In the Buddhist 

paradise pure beings have bright yellowish f at ~ 

their merit may grow in the shape of diamonds, f) 0 r 
amber, etc. ’ 

In the Middle Ages amber was worn to ward oil n 
and amber necklaces for small children were so]°i^ 
croup-prcvcntativcs throughout Europe as late as h 
19th century. It was dissolved and used as a cordial'/ 
prevented epilepsy if placed over the heart, checked 
paralysis if the spine were anointed with it, and acted 
a restorative if one inhaled it. In the 15th and 16 th tea 
rimes in India it was mixed with food as a medicament 

Moslems include amber beads on their talismatf 
chains and bracelets, believing them a cure for jaundice 
They rub sore eyes with ashes of amber and take it i n 
powdered form internally to strengthen a weak heattor 
to induce sweating. The Italians use amber amulets 
against witchcraft. The French of Louisiana still use it 
to cure croup. 

Amber mountains and amber islands were the fore- 
runners of the glass mountains and islands in the folk 
talcs of Scandinavia, central and eastern Europe, and 
the British Isles. The Scandinavian Glacsisvcllir was an 
amber valley-paradise and Glaesir an amber grove at the 
gates of Valhalla. The word glass, originally meaning 
“resin" or “amber," was applied io glass when that prod” 
net was introduced into northern Europe. 

Ambrogio and Lictta A popular ballad of northern 
Italy (from the Piedmont region) in which Ambrorio 
cruelly and heartlessly compels his wife, Lietta, heavy 
with child, to travel faster than she is able. This ballad 
closely parallels the theme of the F-nglish Child Waters. 
ambrosia In Greek and Roman mythology, the food 
or drink of the gods which made all who partook of it 
immortal. In Homer, ambrosia was the food of imraor- 
talitv and its accompanying nectar the drink of the gods 
Sappho and Anaxandridcs spoke of ambrosia as the 
drink of the gods, nectar as the food. Compare amwtv 
mead; soma. 

Amen or Amon An important god of ancient Egypt, 
almost always worshipped as identical with another god. 
Amen was probably originally a local god of Thebes and 
the neighboring Luxor anil Knmak and may have been 
an air god. However, in later religion, he became a god 
of reproduction, was spoken of as one of the creators 
of the gods, of mankind, of the universe. As patron o! 
Thebes he became, in the XA’III Dynasty and afterwards, 
the chief god of Egypt (Amcn-Ra), and his priests 
wielded power greater than that of the pharaohs. He 
was depicted as a bearded man wearing a cap with two 
tall plumes, or as a ram. Both the rain and the goosz 
were sacred to him, and at Thebes be was said to b: 
embodied in the ram. As the national god of Egypt, he 
was incarnate in the Pharaoh. The ruins at Kamak arc 
the remains of his temple. The Greeks identified him 
with Zeus, and his great oracle was the famous stone in 
the temple of Jupiter Ammon. 

Aincnti or Amentct In the Osiris cult of Egyptian re- 
ligion and in mythology, the underworld; literally, the 
hidden land, located in the west where the sun sets. 
When the soul entered Amcnti, Anubis conducted it 
into the hall of Osiris where it was judged by the 12 
judges; then the heart was weighed against the feather 
of truth. Those souls which passed the test went on to 
the fields of Aalu while the others were consigned to 
torment. The four spirits of Amcnti, the tutelaries of 



the underworld and children of Horus, represented upon 
the four Canopic vases, were Amset, Hapi, Tuamatef, 
and Kebhsnauf. Compare ba. 

American Antliropological Association Formal inter- 
est in anthropology is of long standing in the United 
States, but it was not until 1879 that an immediate pro- 
genitor of the American Anthropological Association 
was organized. In that year a group of men, mainly 
ethnologists and doctors of medicine, formed the An- 
thropological Society of Washington “to encourage the 
study of the natural history of man, especially with ref- 
erence to America.” 

It was not long before the localized interests of this 
group and others such as the American Ethnological 
Society in New York (founded in 1842) and the Phila- 
delphia Anthropological Society (later in origin) wid- 
ened enough to require an organization of greater scope. 
Thus, in 1882 the American Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Science created an anthropology section 
which brought together for the first time in a nation- 
wide structure persons of anthropological interests. In 
1899 this anthropology section of the American Associa- 
tion for the Advancement of Science took over the jour- 
nal American Anthropologist, which had been the organ 
of the Anthropological Society of Washington since 1888, 
and reestablished it as the American Anthropologist, 
New Series. 

The needs of anthropologists and the growing dignity 
and importance of the science were still in part unful- 
filled, however, and as a consequence the first steps to- 
ward founding an independent, national organization 
were taken during the latter part of 1901. Subsequently, 
an Act of Incorporation for the American Anthropo- 
logical) Association was recorded on March 26, 1902, in 
the District of Columbia and a founding meeting was 
held in Pittsburgh on June 30, 1902. 

The purposes of the Association, as quoted from the 
original constitution, were "to promote the science of An- 
thropology; to stimulate the efforts of American an- 
thropologists; to coordinate Anthropology with other 
sciences; to foster local and other societies devoted to 
Anthropology; to serve a bond of union among Amer- 
ican anthropologists and American anthropological or- 
ganizations present and prospective; and to publish and 
encourage the publication of matter pertaining to 
Anthropology.” The original constitution has been 
amended in 1916, 1941, and 1946. The last date saw the 
institution of major changes with an increased attention 
_to the professional interests of the membership. Thus, 
to the original aims were added the provisions that the 
Association shall “take action on behalf of the entire 
profession and integrate the professional activities of 
anthropologists in the various special branches of the 
science; promote the wider recognition and constant 
improvement of professional standards in anthropology; 
and act to coordinate activities of members of the Asso- 
ciation with those of other organizations concerned with 
anthropology, and maintain effective liaison with related 
sciences and their organizations." In the furtherance of 
these aims, the amended constitution gave increased 
authorities and discretion concerning professional mat- 
ters to the executive board of the Association. One of the 
first acts of the executive board was the establishment 
in August, 1947, of an Executive Secretariat, with the aid 
of a grant of SI 0,660.50 from the Carnegie Corporation 

of New York, charged w'ith general responsibilities con- 
cerning professional information and public relations. 
Another measure, designed to enhance the professional 
interests of the Association, was the creation of two 
classes of membership, Fellows and Members, with 
eligibility to the former status restricted to persons who 
meet certain professional standards. Early in 1948 two 
further statuses. Foreign Fellows and Liaison Fellows, 
became effective. At the end of 1948 the Association’s 
membership was about 2,330, comprising 475 Fellows, 
1,225 Members, and 630 institutional subscribers. 

With regard to the encouragement and organization 
of research the Association is unique among learned 
societies in having official representative membership 
on all three of the major research councils in the United 
States, i.e. the National Research Council, the Social 
Science Research Council, and the American Council 
of Learned Societies, and in addition provides two rep- 
resentatives to the American Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Science. 

The publications of the Association consist of the 
American Anthropologist, a quarterly now in its fiftieth 
volume, and the Memoirs, occasional in nature and now 
sixty-nine in number. These two publications have con- 
tained many articles and monographs of milestone im- 
portance, which have affected the currents of anthropo- 
logical thought not only in the United States but in other 
nations as well. A third publication, a mimeographed 
News Bulletin, was established in 1947; it is designed to 
report matters of current interest and importance to the 
Fellows of the Association. The A merican A n thropologist 
is also the official organ of the American Ethnological 
Society, the Anthropological Society of Washington, the 
Philadelphia Anthropological Society, the Central States 
Branch of the American Anthropological Association, 
the Anthropological Society of Hawaii, and the Western 
States Branch of the American Anthropological Associa- 
tion, all of which are affiliate organizations. In addition, 
the Association maintains close relations variously 
through joint membership, reduced annual dues, and an 
editorial council with all of the above as well as with 
the Society for American Archaeology, the American 
Folklore Society, the Linguistic Society of America, the 
Society for Applied Anthropology, the American Associ- 
ation of Physical Anthropologists, the Inter-American 
Society for Anthropology and Geography, and the 
periodicals Primitive Man, Southwestern Journal of 
Anthropology, and the International Journal of Amer- 
ican Linguistics. 

Annual business meetings have been held every year 
since the Association was founded, with a scientific meet- 
ing held in conjunction nearly every' year as well. When- 
ever possible, these meetings are held jointly with vari- 
ous of the affiliated and kindred organizations noted 

Since 1946 the Association has, through the offices of 
a special committee, selected the annual recipient of the 
Viking Fund Medal and Prize in Cultural Anthropology. 

D. B. Stout, Secretary 

American folklore Even without insisting on special 
American qualities in American folklore, we can now 
safely assume that there is such a thing as "American 
folklore” and not "only European (or African, or Far 
Eastern) folklore on the American continent.” i The 
late Alexander Haggerty Krappe’s objection to the term 


“American folklore" as a “bad misnomer” must be 
judged in relation <o bis Old World conception of 
folklore as synonymous with “survivals” and of the folk 
as synonymous with the peasantry. In America it is no 
longer possible to accept his definition of the former as 
the “sum total of stories, songs, beliefs, and practices 
which belong to a bygone age and have ceased to have 
any direct and organic connection with actual life, or of 
the latter in terms of “purely agricultural regions. 

The real trouble, however, lies in the ambiguity of 
the word folklore, which lias the double meaning of the 
material and its study. It is true (and Krappe may have 
had this in mind) that there can be no scientific, his- 
torical Study of American folklore apart from Old World 
sources. But equally important to the study of American 
folklore is what happened to the Old World heritage 
after it was transplanted and took root. Although Krappe 
rightly insists that the folklorist must be equipped with 
a “good history of the American ‘land-taking,’ “ he still 
thinks of this largely in terms of the “ethnical prov- 
enance and age of each settlement” and the shifts of 
populations.” But provenance is only half the story. If 
folklore is universal in diffusion, it is local in setting. 
And the study of the local setting takes special impor- 
tance from the fact that “it is upon the mass of the inar- 
ticulate in American society that effects of environment 
are likely to be most marked.” - 

There is, in other words, such a thing as an in- 
digenous American folk, in terms, as the present writer 
stated in 1929, of “not one folk but many folk groups— 
as many as there are regional cultures or racial or occu- 
pational groups within a region." 3 As basic to this 
conception the writer accepted J. Frank Dobie's defini- 
tion of the folk as “any group of people not cosmo- 
politan who, independent of academic means, preserve 
a body of tradition peculiar to themselves.” Or, as 
Martha Warren Beckwith put it in 1931: “The true folk 
group is one which has preserved a common culture in 
isolation long enough to allow emotion to color its forms 
of social expression.” 4 She names as isolating factors 
"geographical conditions," “common language and na- 
tional heritage,” and "occupation," found separately or 

folk, as well as of the fact that, for the purposes ot i 
lection and study, American folklore is too hi- 
treated as a -whole, led to the following division 0 f i 
field by the American Folklore Society at the time op' 
organization in 1SS8: “(a) Relics of Old English Folti '' 
(ballads, tales, superstitions, dialect, etc.); (b) p 0 . 
Negroes in the Southern States of the Union; (c) h, tc C ‘, 
the Indian tribes of North America (myths, tales et \ 
(d) Lore of French Canada, Mexico, etc.’": With th 
addition of later immigrant and other nationals 
groups, these categories still mark the main cultural 
divisions of American folklore and the division of 
among American folklorists. 

Although the study of the lore of foreign-languid 
groups, like that of the American Indian, has been deft 
gated to specialists, it must not be thought that the folk 
culture of national minorities is entirely cut oil f ron , 
the main body of English-speaking groups. Ghettoe, 
islands, and “pockets,” it is true, make for partial or 
relative isolation; but linguistic barriers arc no obstacle 
to the diffusion of folklore, which follows the principal 
cultural routes and areas, with resultant interchange 
and modification of the folk-ways and folklore of the 
various ethnic groups. 

The nature and degree of separation and exchange 
between groups are further affected by social and eco- 
nomic influences, education, and mass communication. 
Although the forces that make for standardization ate 
diffused through all groups and areas with apparent 
uniformity, the interplay of cultural norms and varia- 
tions is complicated by group acceptances and resist- 
ances, local attachments and sectional loyalties, and 
traditional reliance on folk beliefs and practices as an 
alternate mode of procedure to scientific and institu- 
tional forms. 

To the forces of survival and contra-acculturative 
reversion must also be added the forces of revival as 
intercultural and folk education, folk festivals, etc., seek 
to promote group self-respect and mutual understand- 
ing by showing the essential unity underlying differ- 
ences, stressing participation in a common culture rather 
than "contributions,” reconciling conflicts between old 

in conjunction with one another. 

From the cultural point of view, there is not only an 
American folk but also an American study of the folk 
and its lore. This involves, more than the provenance 
and distribution of folk songs and tales in the United 
States, the social and cultural history of folk groups. It 
is the study not simply of diffusion but of accultura- 
tion—' “those phenomena which result when groups of 
individuals having different cultures come into continu- 
ous first-hand contact, with subsequent changes in the 
original cultural patterns of either or both groups.” 5 
And folklore acculturation studies in turn involve not 
only local folklore collections, correlated with life his- 
tories of and interviews with informants and with field 
and historical studies of cultural areas and centers and 
routes of migration, as in the Linguistic Atlas, but the 
whole relation of local and regional history to American 
social and cultural history and of folklore to the “roots 
of American culture" in what Constance Rourke calls 
the“liumblc influences of place and kinship and common 
emotion that accumulate through generations to shape 
and condition a distinctive native consciousness." 0 

Recognition of the cultural diversity of the American 

and new cultural patterns, and generally replacing 
stereotypes with cultural variations. 

As part of this cultural dynamics, the following trends 
may be distinguished in the development of American 
folk groups and their lore. 'Where regional variations 
are coupled with a distinct ethnic and linguistic stock, 
in a state of partial or relative cultural isolation, a more 
or less homogeneous body of regional lore exists in much 
the same sense that regional lore and regional dialects 
are found in the Old World. This is true, for example, 
of tlie lore of the English-Scotch-Irish mountain whites; 
the Afro-American lore of the Deep South (Coast, Sea 
Islands, Delta), and the Wes I Indies; and more particu- 
larly the lore of the Pennsylvania Germans, the Louisi- 
ana French, and the Spanish-American and Mexican- 
American groups of the Southwest. Again, where work 
is related to place, a distinctive occupational lore has 
grosm up about such callings as deep-water sailing, 
whaling, fishing, canal-boating, steamboating, railroad- 
ing, lumbering, grazing, and coal- and metal-mining. 
Regional culture and folkways have further conditioned 
and fostered the growth of certain regional types of lore, 
such as the Southern Negro slave songs and prison work 



songs, white spirituals of the Southern uplands, Shaker 
songs and dances, and Mormon lore, as well as regional 
styles of story-telling, singing, square-dancing, square- 
dance calling, and folk arts and crafts. 

With the recent revival of interest in American folk- 
ways and regions, scholarly and popular attention has 
been focused on the lore of such colorful subregions as 
the Maine coast, the White and Green Mountains, Cape 
Cod, the Catskills, the Allegheny, Cumberland, blue 
Ridge, Great Smoky, and Ozark Mountains, the Tide- 
svatcr, Florida, the Gulf Const, the Mississippi Delta, the 
Bayous of Louisiana, the Great Lakes, the Upper Penin- 
sula of Michigan, the Rockies, and the various Southwest 
and Northwest areas. 

Turning from folk groups to folklore, we note a two- 
fold effect of the twin forces of diffusion and accultura- 
tion. On the one hand, the same song or story, in slightly 
altered form (the product of localization), may turn up 
in different localities, attached to diffcicnt individuals, 
each claiming to be the otiginal. Such is the case with 
migratory legends and traditions of losers' leaps, haunts 
of the devil, witches, ghosts, pirates. and buried treasure. 
On the other hand, a genuine body of place lore (in- 
separable and sometimes indistinguishable from regional 
culture) has gross-n up about local traditions connected 
with topographical features, landm.oih', flora and fauna, 
artifacts, papulation, settlement, foods, architecture, 
speech, place names, and local attachments and loyalties 
of all kinds, from social, political, and economic feuds 
and rivalries to local pride and patriotism generally. 
Place lore, of course, is mixed with historical traditions, 
as in the South, where colonial, plantation. Civil War, 
and Reconstruction day* have their respective legends, 
heroes, and sy tnbols. 

If American folklore is, on the whole, closer to history 
than to mythology, it is because America as a whole is 
closer to the beginnings of settlement and to the oral 
and written sources of local history. America is rich, not 
only in local history (much local historical writing, it is 
true, being amateurish, antiquarian, and local in spirit) 
but also in folk history— history from the liottom up. in 
which the people, as participants or eye-witnesses, arc 
their own historians. And in so far as everyone has in 
his repertoire an articulate body of family and com- 
munity tradition he is to that extent his own folklorist 
as ss-cll as a folklore informant. 

The combination of history, folklore, and folk history 
is nowhere seen to better advantage than in old-timers' 
stories and reminiscences, which not only contain valu- 
able folklore data but also throw valuable light on the 
backgrounds of folklore and folk groups. Through the 
combined efforts of old-timers, folklorists, and historians, 
an extensive literature (much of it in the vernacular) of 
pioneer folkways and customs has grown up in America. 
This tells us how people lived in the early days; how 
they fought wild animals, Indians, drought, fire, flood, 
cyclones, blizzards, sandstorms, pests, sickness, disease, 
crime; how they made their own entertainment and 
hots’ many hands made light work In the social gather- 
ings. merrymakings, and work bees of the frontier; what 
they ate and what they wore; how they educated them- 
selves and how they worshipped. All this, if closer to 
folkways than to folklore, is still valid material for the 
folklorists' study, since folklore properly includes the 
life of the folk as well as its lore. 

The relation of history to legend is also close in 
America. The mixture of the two has given rise to a 
large body of "historical" traditions (cor- 
responding to "unnattual" natural history) or apoc- 
ryphal traditions of doubtful exploits of historical char- 
acters and "untrustworthy ttaditions of doubtful events." 
And in so far as history, with its fables and symbols, 
selects, transmits, and shapes traditional values and as- 
sumptions, it acquires folklore coloring and significance. 

The lore of place names is particularly rich in local 
history and historical traditions. Factual place names 
arise "either from an immediate circumstance attend- 
ing the giving of the name, a happening, an objert pres- 
ent, a natural feature of the landscape, or frotn memory 
association with other places or names." *• Mythological 
names originate in assumed or folk etymology whirls 
may "sometimes furnish under the guise of fiction useful 
dues to the real facts." t> But there arc historical and 
mythological elements in both kinds of place-name 
stories, as myth has some basis in history or history is 
touched with fantasy. 

The somewhat overstressed predilection of the Amer- 
ican folk for extravagant or ludicrous exaggeration, 
which would seem to be in contradiction to its historical 
impulse, is related to the proverbial traits of boasting 
and boosting and the burlesque thereof, and may be 
explained anti reconciled on the ground that in America 
and American history nothing is usual. lit the first place, 
Americans, living in a land of marvels and being (torn 
travelers, have always loved to hear and tell tales (espe- 
cially travelers' talcs) of the marvelous. In the second 
place, since Americans have always tried to improve on 
nature, /American story-tellers are seldom averse to im- 
proving a talc. In this task of "making a good story a 
little better." folk story-tellers have had the example 
and assistance of professional historians, from the 
Mathers, with their habit of glorifying marvels (or 
"providences”) as a means of improving religion, to the 
latest historian or pseudo-historian who uses legend to 
heighten the drama and color of history. 

In spinning extravagant yams and lying talcs the 
folk has also had the cooperation of professional story- 
tellers in the reciprocity of oral and written tradition 
that exists in America. Tims a long line of Southern 
and Western humorists, culminating in Mark Twain, 
converted the yarn and tall talc: from oral to literary 
use, emulating the matter and manner of the oral and 
natural story-teller. As a result (c.g. in New F.ngland), 
the line between folklore, local history, and local-color 
lvriting is sometimes hard to draw. On the one hand, 
almanacs, newspapers, magazines, chronicles, memoirs, 
travel accounts, and town and county histories have 
helped to circulate oral traditions and anecdotes of the 
smart sayings and doings, the jests and pranks of local 
characters and old-titncrs. On the other hand, poets, 
dramatists, and fiction-writers have made liberal artistic 
use of local anecdotes and legends. 

The fact that American folklore grew up in an age 
of print has had still other effects on the aesthetics, 
culture, and science of this lore. It has, according to 
Paul Engle, resulted in a greater and more successful 
effort (on the part of untrained, and even unconscious, 
as well as trained folklorists) "to retain in print those 
often insubstantial folk sayings, folk customs, folk anec- 
dotes, svhich arc the rich substance of a country's life." 


It lias also given American folklore more than a touch 
of the sophisticated and even synthetic. In the case of 
Paul Bunyan, for example, there is strong evidence of 
diffusion from above downward, and more than a suspi- 
cion that lumber advertising men had as much to do 
with inventing the logger hero as he had to do with 
inventing the lumber industry-. 

Paul Bunyan stories, originating fairly recently in 
separate anecdotes or jests of the Munchausen and joke- 
book variety, also illustrate the tendency of anecdotes to 
escape from print into oral tradition. Short, pithy, funny 
stories, learned from either source and both in and out 
of cycles, have always been popular among the folk 
because easily remembered and quickly told. But the an- 
ecdotal, fragmentary character of much American story- 
telling and the relative scarcity of long, involved tales 
may indicate that the more highly developed forms of 
folk story-telling have become a lost art. Certainly, 
tinder the influence of commercialized mass media of 
entertainment and with the general speeding up of 
modern living, shorter, snappier forms have displaced 
long-winded tales and ballads. 

The anecdote also flourishes in America as a result 
of the separation of story-telling from mythology and 
ritual and its survival chiefly as a social pastime grow- 
ing out of the chat or as a practical device for clinch- 
ing an argument or illustrating a point. Hence the 
vogue of the anecdote as a rhetorical form popular with 
political, after-dinner, and other speakers and the large 
number of collections preserving oral anecdotes of 
master story-tellers like Lincoln and continuing in the 
tradition of exempla and ana. 

The typical American form of story-telling, however, 
is not the anecdote but the yarn, winch may be con- 
sidered the parent type or an elaboration and expan- 
sion of the anecdote, depending upon whether one 
considers the anecdote a vestigial or germinal form. As 
a long, loose, rambling tale of personal experience, the 
yarn has its roots in “own stories” and reminiscences of 
thrilling or improbable adventures. Like the anecdote, 
the yarn is told “casually, in an offhand way, as if in 
reference to actual events of common knowledge,” and 
with the utmost solemnity in the face of the most pre- 
posterous incidents. Unlike the anecdote, however, the 
yam often substitutes anticlimax for climax, building 
up elaborately to a letdown instead of sacrificing every- 
thing to the punch line. The accumulation of circum- 
stantial detail, often digressive and irrelevant, after the 
fashion of garrulous raconteurs, is also a device for 
establishing confidence and securing credence. 

Although more involved than the anecdote, the yam 
still falls short of the highly developed art of the Old 
World folktale. Two favorite devices of the yam— the 
repeated obstacle and the retarded climax— are devices 
of the fairy or household tale, which survives in the 
United States chiefly on the childhood level. Thus one 
of Richard Chase’s informants for The Jack Tales (1942) 
confessed that he didn’t like to tell stories "unless there 
are a lot of kids around." 

Underlying the art of strir ;’n jut the story in a yam 
is often the purpose of strin t ig or taking in the listener. 
Even where the latter is no, having his leg pulled, the 
favorite theme of anecdotes and yarns (in the universal 
and perennial folk tradition) is pranks and tricks, hoaxes 
and deceptions Id'm - _en in animal tales of the trickster 


type). The "scrapes and ’scapes” of yams satisfy 
for marvels and adventures once supplied by fain- b ”' e 
and tales of ghosts and witches. At the same time 4 
provide an outlet for the “individual competitive , 
gressiveness” of American society. J »' 

In the latter connection one is frequently struck h 
the antisocial character of much American lore 1 5 
many American heroes. Just as the myth of the for 
vidualism of the pioneer has been revised in the dilu- 
tion of cooperation, as evidenced by neighborhora 
undertakings like the log-rolling and the barn-raisin* 
so the socially useful folk rituals of cooperative woik atS 
play are partly offset by the rough, tough, antisocial 
humor of the frontier. This ranges from sells, prani.v 
and practical jokes in the hazing tradition of breaking 
in the tenderfoot and the greenhorn (snipe hums and 
badger fights, fool’s errands, circular stories, mythical 
monsters) to the grim hoaxing and persecution 0 ! 
minorities (Indians, Negroes, Mexicans, and Chinese) by 
frontier bullies and rogues like Mike Fink and Roy Bean 
To the horse sense and cracker-barrel wit of the shrewd 
Yankee and the suspicious squatter (as in The Arkansa-j 
Traveler), with its characteristic “reluctant” eloquence 
were added the raucous horseplay and horse lau°htcr 
of the backwoods, where "pretty cute little stunts” and 
fool doings became crazier as the country became wilder 
and where the traditional form of expression was reck- 
less and bamboozling tall talk and sky-painting oratory, 
or making a noise in language. In this way the pioneer 
let off steam and "laughed it off” or made "terrible faces 
playfully” at the hazards and hardships of the frontier. 

The same raw buffoonery and the same distrust and 
manhandling of the stranger and the outsider products, 
in the direction of verbal rather than practical jokes, the 
lore of popular reproaches, taunts, and gibes, and local 
cracks and slams— facetious place names, uncomplimen- 
tary nicknames, satirical repartee, and bywords, ribbing 
anecdotes and jests about Boston, Brooklyn, Arkansas, 
Missouri, "dam Yankees,” Southern pride, California 
and Florida climate, the "big country” of Texas. 
Whether based on literary or social stereotypes and 
myths or on historical traits and rivalries, such as 
existed in neighborhood feuds, county wars, sectional 
conflicts, feuds between cattlemen and sheepmen, the 
parochial, invidious lore of hoax and libel (the seamy 
side of local tradition and the provincial or neighbor- 
hood spirit) reflects the geography of culture, the ruth- 
lessness of frontier and industrial society, and the 
intolerance of clannishness and chauvinism. 

In the folklore of pride and prejudice brags and lies 
go hand in hand with cracks and slams, since the desire 
to see what one wants to see, believe what one wants to 
believe, and make others see and believe as one wants 
them to leads to extravagant as well as to insulting 
representations and distortion. Boosting and booming, 
or exaggerating the advantages of a place, accompany 
the American myth of a paradise on earth, the dream of 
a land flowing with milk and honey, the search for God’s 
country'. The fairyland of guide books and official puffs 
is full of the same wonders that one encounters in count- 
less yams and tall tales — of a climate so healthful that 
people rarely die, except from accident or old age; of 
soil so fertile that a man has to cut his way out of cu- 
cumber vines that spring up as he plants the seed; of 
com that grows so fast that a man who tics his team to 



a com stalk finds himself, team, and wagon pushed up 
into the air so that food has to he shot up to him to 
keep him from starving to death. On the adverse side, 
one hears complaints about a climate so dry that people 
sweat dust or so wet that the pores sprout watercress or 
a country so poor that it takes nine partridges to holler 
•‘hob White" or that the dogs have to lean against the 
fence to bark. 

The unnatural natural history of queer animal be- 
havior, fearsome critters, and other freaks of nature is 
related partly to hoaxing and boasting and partly to 
superstitious awe and dread and the hallucinations in- 
spired by the mysteries and terrors of the wilderness of 
sea and forest, mountains and deserts, and the violent 
extremes and contrasts of weather and climate. Mere the 
anthropomorphism of shrewd, benevolent, or malevolent 
beasts is balanced by the thcriomorphism and totetnism 
of the half-horse, half-alligator and the ring-tailed 
roarer, of tall talk and strong language, with “many 
terms transferred from animals to men by the hunters 
of the West.” In their brags and war cries, boasters like 
Davy Crockett refer to themselves as “an entire zoological 
institute," claiming various animal traits and features 
to prove their intestinal fortitude and savage destructive- 
ness. In this rampant and raucous animalism is addi- 
tional cvidcnccof what Lucy Lockwood Hazard calls "the 
dwindling of the hero" from the godlike to the human 
and ultimately to the subhuman level under the picar- 
esque, predatory influences of the frontier. 

Real and mythical flora and fauna also enter into the 
symbolism of state flowers, seals, nicknames, emblems, 
flags, automobile license plates, and the totetnism and 
fetishism of local legendry and mythology, politics, and 
business. “Look for a Thunderbird Tourist Service," 
writes Maty Austin of the "Land of Little Rain." "What 
more competent embodiment of the spirit of service, in 
a land where for ten thousand years it has been looked 
for from the corn rows, augury of a fruitful season, the 
dark-bodied, dun-feathered cloud of the summer rain, 
wing stretched from mountain to mountain, with arrows 
of the lightning in its claws.” to Half-gargoyle, half- 
Phccnix, the legendary bird of Kansas, the Jayhawk, 
gives its name and likeness to tilings Kansan— the bird 
with the large yellow beak and bright yellow slippers 
that "flics backward and so doesn't care where lie’s going, 
‘but sure wants to know where he's been.' " 11 And in the 
old hall of the Massachusetts House of Representatives 
the sacred codfish commemorates the maritime and fish- 
ing preeminence of the Bay State. 

The same mingling of the primitive and the practical 
characterizes American mythology as a whole. American 
popular and legendary heroes arc divided between the 
prosaic, plebeian Yankee virtues of hard work, persever- 
cnce, common sense, thrift, faculty or "know-how,” and 
handiness, and the primitive virtues of red-blooded 
courage, muscle, brawn, brute force, and animal cun- 
ning. Because the New England ethos bred strong char- 
acters and eccentrics rather than heroic types, the 
typical American hero is the Western hero— the picar- 
esque type of footloose adventurer, product and symbol 
of a “society cut loose from its roots" and of a “lime 
of migrations." In the thin and shifting line that sepa- 
rates law-enforcement from law-breaking on the frontier, 
hero-worship glorifies the good bad man and the bad 
good man along with the poor boy who makes good. 

Yet throughout the galaxy of American heroes— 
tricksters, showmen, conquerors, saviors— the familiar 
lineaments of the whittling, tinkering, scheming, prying 
comic Yankee arc seen. As a culture hero he culminates 
in the comic demigod of the Paul Runyan type— the 
superman and the work giant in a world of gadgets, who 
has the whole country to tinker and whittle with. 

The logging fraternity of the generous camp boss and 
bis loyal crew grew out of the fluid, mobile social rela- 
tions of the frontier, before the tightening of class lines 
and the sharpening of the struggle between worker and 
boss. In the same way cowboy songs reflect a society in 
which the "boss rode with the hands” and "every cow- 
puncher was a prospective cowman; all that was needed 
to start a herd teas a stout rope and a running iron." J 2 
Thus the frontier ideal of a free, resourceful, out- 
door, migratory life, self-sufficient and individualistic, 
is perpetuated in American hero talcs and songs, whose 
heroic age is the age of industrial pioneering and crafts- 
manship, before the days of mechanization and unioniza- 
tion of labor. The heroes arc lusty, blustering strong 
men and champions, star performers, and master wotk- 
men, the "biggest, fastest, and bestest" men on the job. 
The ballads of the men who built America are the 
rousing, rhythmic, dramatic, humorous shanties, hollers, 
and gang work songs of the leader-and-chorus type- 
last encountered in the Negro prison camps of the South. 

In the progression from the comic demigods and 
roughnecks of the Paul Bnnyan-Davy Crockctt-Mike 
Pink breed to the heroes of endurance and duty— 
Johnny Applcsecd. John Henry, Casey Jones, and Joe 
Mngarac—onc notes a heightened sense of social re- 
sponsibility and mission. A similar development of social 
consciousness results in the sharpened criticism and 
protest or campaign and revival songs, coal miners' 
songs of disasters and strikes, wobbly and union songs, 
and Negro spirituals and freedom songs. 

As the folklore of a new, young, and big country, 
mirroring the rapid changes from rural and agricul- 
tural to urban and industrial society, American folk- 
lore is a mixture not only of the lore of peoples from 
all lands and all parts of the country, but of oral and 
written tradition, of the sophisticated and the primi- 
tive, the very new and the very old, the antisocial and 
the social. In such a country men become heroes within 
their own lifetime and living story-tellers may encompass 
within their memories the whole cycle of development of 
their community and region. And if the genius of this 
lore has been for realistic anecdote, extravagant yam, 
and comic hero legend rather than for sacred hero talc, 
other worldly myth, and fairy tale, the reason is simple. 
Americans, like people the world over, sing, yarn, jest, 
brag, create heroes, and “whistle in the dark," not only 
about universal themes and motives and in age-old 
patterns, but also about the experiences that are closest 
to them and interest them most. 


1. Alexander Haggerty Krappe. “ ‘American’ Folklore,*- 
folh-Say, A Regional Miscellany (Norman, Okla., 
1930), pp. 291-297. 

2. Constance McLaughlin Green, “The Value of Local 
History," The Cultural Approach to History, cd. 
for the Am, Hist. Assn, by Caroline F. Ware (New 
York, 1910), p.278. 



"> “The Folk in Literature: An Introduction to the 
‘ New Regionalism Folk-Say, A Regional Miscellany 
(Norman, Okla., 1929), p- I— . 

4. Folklore in America: Us Scope and Method (Pough- 
keepsie, N. Y., 1931), p. 4. ,, 

“Memorandum for the Study of Acculturation by 
Robert Redficld, Ralph Linton, and Melvdle J. 
Herskovits, American Anthropologist, Is. S., vot. JS 
(lan.-Marcb, 1936), no. 1, pp. M9-152. 

“The Significance Sections/’ The New Republic 
(Sept. 20, 1933), p. 149. 

Journal of American Folklore, vol. 1 (Apnl-June, 
1SSS), no. l,P-3. . „ 

George Philip Krapp, The English Language tn 
America (New York, 1925), vol. I, p- 1SS. 

Robert L. Ramsay, Foreword to Frederic G. Cas- 
sidy’s The Place Flames of Dane County, Jf'isconsin, 
Publication of the American Dialect Society, Num- 
ber 7 (April, 1947), p. 5. 

The Land of Journey’s Ending (New York and 
London, 1924), pp. 443-444. 

John Gunther, Inside U. S. A. (New York and Lon- 
don, 1947), p. 262. 

12. Margaret Larkin, Singing Cowboy (New York, 1931), 
p x ; B. A. Botkin 

American Folklore Society The American Folklore 

10 . 


Society was organized at Cambridge, Massachusetts on 
January 4, 1SSS. Its founders were the most important 
folklore scholars in America: Alc6e Fortier, the first 
president, W. W. Newell, permanent secretary and 
editor, Franz Boas, F. J. Child, George A. Dorsey, J. 
Walter Fcwkcs, Alice Fletcher, Joseph Fortier, Daniel 
Brinton, T. F. Crane. The list of presidents of the 
society reads like a bead roll of the important folklorists 
of America: Alc6c Fortier 1SS8, 1894; Francis Jatues 
Child 1889; Daniel G. Brinton 1890; Otis T. Mason 
1891; Frederick Ward Putnam 1892; Horatio Hale, 1893; 
Washington Matthews 1895; John G. Burke 1896; Stewart 
Culm 1897; Henry Wood 1S98; Charles L. Edwards 
1899; Franz Boas 1900, 1932, 1935; Frank Russell 1901; 
George A. Dorsey 1902; Livingston Farrand 1903; George 
Lyman Kittredge 1904; Alice C. Fletcher 1905; Alfred 
L. Krocber 1906; Roland B. Dixon 1907-03; John R. 
Swanton 1909; H. M. Bolden 1910-11; John A. Lomax 
1912-13; Pliny Earle Goddard 1914-15; Robert H. Lowie 
191G-17; C. Marius Barbcau 1918; Elsie Clews Parsons 
1919-20; Frank G. Speck 1921-22; Aurelio M. Espinosa 
1923-24; Louise Pound 1925-26; Alfred if. Tozzer 1927— 
29; Edward Sapir 1930-31; M. IV. Beckwith 1933-34; 
Archer Taylor 1930-37; Stith Thompson 1938-39; I. A. 
Hatlowcll 1940-41; H. W. Thompson 1942; G. A. Rcicli- 
avd 1943-14; B. A. Botkin 1944-45; M. J. Herskovits 1945- 
46; J. M. Can'ierc 1946-47; E. W. Vocgelin 1948—49; 
Thelma James, 1949-50. 

The original proposal in which the object of the 
Society is stated is as follows; “It is proposed to form 
a society for the study of Folk-Lore, oE which the prin- 
cipal object shall be to establish a Journal, of a scientific 
character, designed:— 

(1) For the collection of the fast-vanishing remains of 
Folk-Lore in America, namely: 

(a) Relics of Old English Folk-Lore (ballads, tales, 
superstitions, dialect, etc.). 

(b) Lore of Negroes in tile Southern States of the 

(c) Lore of the Indian Tribes of North t 

(myths, tales, etc.). A ®“ia 

(d) Lore of French Canada, Mexico, etc. 

(2) For the study of the general subject, and M vv 
tion of the results of special studies in this depart . 

This proposal and the practices that grew out , 
mark a major development in the study of folklore r 
to this time folklore as generally studied in Europe It 
consisted largely in investigation of the relics ol CUW 
popular antiquities, and popular literature. The f on J 
ers of tire American Folklore Society, probably beta® ; 
they were in the New World, enlarged the snidv^t 
folklore to include all categories of culture, not S aU, 
literary, nnd to include in addition the study of Thi#,’ 
folklore as found especially among the American Indijrl 
The American Folklore Society from the beginnino fa. 
spired the collection and investigation of Negro [pH. 
lore: literature, music, songs, superstitions, andbditb. 
With the American Anthropological Association it da 
pioneered studies in Indian folklore, considering it mKl 
promising, for here "the investigator has to deal itith 
whole nations and as a result the harvest does not consist 
of scattered gleanings." 

From the time of its origin, the American Folklore 
Society recognized that its function could not be instiht, 
that only by a study of folklore in general could the 
folklore of any one people be understood and so to 
tlie beginning the papers in the Journal were open to 
general studies of folklore and to studies of the folklore 
of peoples everywhere in the world. As the Society has 
developed it has constantly broadened its functions until 
today a more accurate name would be the America 
Society of Folklore. 

The first number of the Journal appeared in April, 
1888, under the editorship of W. IV. Newell. Its contents 
are representative of the publication through the yean. 
T. F. Crane wrote of the diffusion of popular tales, 
William Newell on voodoo worship and child sacrifice fa 
Haiti, H. Carrington Bolton on counting-out games oi 
children, D. G. Brinton on Lenape conversations; V. M. 
Beauchamp pubYished a collection of Onondaga tales; 
Franz Boas presented a detailed study of the songs and 
dances of the Kwakiutl. 

The Journal is now (1949) in its 62nd volume. These 
62 volumes contain many very important collections and 
studies from the pens of the major folklorists of Amelia. 
There exist, for example, in the Journal nearly one 
hundred articles on the ballad in America— a body oi 
material that constitutes a large appendix to the great 
Child collection. It is unfortunate that no adequate 
index of the contents of the Journal exists. 

In 1906 the Society was incorporated in Massachusetts 
and a constitution embodying the original proposals 
was adopted. The Society operated under this constitu- 
tion until 1946 when tlie present constitution was 

Early in the history’ of the Society tlie Editor and 
Officers felt the need of a monograph series in addition 
to the Journal to contain book-length specialized studies 
in folklore. Accordingly, ini S94 the Memoir Series was 
inaugurated with the publication of Heli Chatclains 
Folk-Tales of Angola as volume 1, Nov,’ (1949) die 
Memoir Series is in its 42nd volume. These studies are 
highly diversified, concerning themselves with Japanese 
peasant songs, fiddle and fife tunes of Pennsylvania, 



■myths and tales o£ the Gran Chaco of Argentina, Spanish 
songs and talcs, French folklore, studies in Negro and 
Indian folklore, collections of folklore from specific 
■ regions of America, such as Maryland, Iowa, Nova Scotia, 
plant and animal lore, Filipino folktales. For many years 
■members paid additional dues to secure the Memoirs, 
but since 1943 the Society has followed the policy of 
giving both the Journal and the Memoirs to all regular 
.dues-paying members. 

Every year the Society holds a two- or three-day meet- 
ing for transaction of business and the reading and 
discussion of papers. These meetings arc usually ar- 
ranged to coincide alternately with those of the Modern 
Language Association and those of the American An- 
thropological Society. 

Throughout its history the American Folklore So- 
ciety has fostered the establishment of local folklore 
societies. Some fifty such societies over the United States 
and Canada have at one time or another been affiliated 
with the mother society. At the present time ten such 
societies arc closely affiliated with the American Folk- 
lore Society through joint membership arrangements. 
The American Foffcforc Satiety is .-t constituent o( the 
American Council of Learned Societies, and of the Inter- 
national Commission on Folk Arts and Folklore. 

At present the Society has a membership of over 
1,000, the largest in its history. Dues are $4 a year for 
individuals, $6.50 for institutions. All members receive 
all publications without further cost. The 1919-50 offi- 
cers arc: Thelma James, President; Sigurd IV Hustvedt 
and Ema Gunther, Vice Presidents; MacEdward Leach 
(Bennett Hall, 34 and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia 4. 
Pennsylvania), Secretary-Treasurer; Wayland D. Hand, 
Editor. MacEdwaiuo Leach 

Amesha Spentas (Persian Amsltaspand) In Zoroas- 
trianism, the attendant ministers of Ahura Mazda; arch- 
angels: literally. Immortal Holy Ones. The function of 
the Amesha Spentas is to aid Ahura Mazda who prefers 
to act through their ministering hands. They arc in- 
visible, immortal, and dwell in Paradise, sitting, accord- 
ing to the Bundahislin, before the throne of Ahura 
Mazda on golden thrones. The guardianship of an ele- 
ment of the universe is assigned to each. Vohu Manah 
is responsible for the care of useful animals, Asha 
Vahishta for fire, Khshathra Vairya for metals, Spenta 
Armaiti for the earth, Haurvatat for water, and 
Amerctat for vegetation. These six arc constantly op- 
posed by the six archfiends, Aka Manah, Sauru, Indrn, 
Naorthathya. Zairicha, and Taurvi, whom they will 
finally vanquish at the time of the resurrection. 

Originally there were six Amesha Spentas in addition 
to their leader, Ahura Mazda, but some of the angels, 
among them Sraosha, Atar, and GoSurvan, were ad- 
mitted to the group so that the number varied. 

The Amesha Spentas receive special worship and arc 
said to descend upon paths of light to the oblation. A 
special month and day are assigned to each in the pontif- 
ical calendar. According to the Dlnkart they appeared 
before King Vishtaspa and helped Zoroaster convert 
him. Compare Aditya; archangel. 

amethyst A purple or violet gem of the quartz family, 
known since early times: birthstone of February or 
Pisces. Its name derives from the Greek word amclhystos, 
meaning non-intoxicating, and its principal attribute 

throughout the ages has been to enable its wearer to 
drink his fill without becoming intoxicated. Wine drunk 
from an amethyst cup will not intoxicate. It is supposed 
to put a sobering check on the passions, control evil 
thoughts, quicken the intellect, and make a man shrewd 
in business matters. It protects soldiers, aids hunters, and 
is extensively worn by sailors, businessmen, lawyers, 
bishops, and medical men, especially on the third finger 
of the left hand. Curative powers are ascribed to it both 
when worn and ■when taken internally. It is especially 
effective against headache, toothache, and the gout, and 
protects its wearer from poison and the plague. 

An 18th century French poem tells how Bacchus, 
angry at neglect, vowed the next mortal lie met should 
be devoured by bis lions. This was a maiden on her way 
to worship at the shrine of Diana who, hearing the 
maiden’s cries, turned her into a beautiful transparent 
stone, Bacchus, in remorse, poured wine over the stone 
which accounts for its beautiful color. The Romans 
valued it as a preventive of intoxication, as a means for 
access to kings, and as a talisman against spells, hail, 
and locusts. Among the tribes of the Upper Nile, the 
Tain-makers use the amethyst ns a rain stone, plunging 
one into water and motioning with a cane when rain 
is desired. In ancient Egypt it was used in amulets and 
as a gemstone. 

The amethyst is mentioned in Exodus as one of the 
stones in the High Priest's breastplate, and in Revela- 
tion as one of the foundations of the New Jerusalem. 
St. Valentine is said to have worn an amethyst ring en- 
graved with a Cupid. 

Amis and Amiloun A Middle English lomancc, French 
in origin, of two perfect friends. Amiloun fights instead 
of Amis at a combat trial; as punishment, he becomes 
a leper. Amis kills his two children after dreaming that 
their blood will cure Amiloun. The leprosy disappears 
and the children awake as from sleep. 

Amitablia, Amita, or Amida In Mahayana Bud- 
dhism, one of the five Buddhas of Contemplation: 
Infinite Light. Amitablia has practically replaced Sakya- 
muni, the historical Buddha; lie is the embodiment of 
every' divine grace; he is all-wise and all-powerful with 
the attributes of grace, mercy, and beneficence. The 
worship of Amitablia emphasizes devotion rather than 
emulation. As O-mi-to-fo lie was the most reverenced and 
popular of the celestial Buddhas in China. The Jodo 
sect introduced the doctrine of SukhavatT, the Western 
Paradise of Amitablia, into Japanese Buddhism, where 
its patron was called Amida. In Sukhavatl there is 
neither mental nor bodily pain but only perpetual bliss. 
With the aid of the Bodhisattvas Avalokita (Kuan-yin) 
and Mahasthama (Ta-shih-chih) all who invoke Ami- 
tablia’s name arc brought to salvation. In legend, 
Amitabha was born spontaneously from a lotus. 

Ainleth or Hamlet In early Danish legend, the son 
of Horvcndil, king of Jutland, and Gcrutlia. As Saxo 
Grammaticus tells the story, Horvcndil was killed by 
his brother Feng (or Fengi) who took the throne and 
married Ccrutha. Amleth (which means mad) escaped 
death at the hands of his unde by feigning madness. He 
rode his horse facing the tail, called sand the meal of 
storms, etc. The young girl sent to test his sanity proved 
to be a friend and would not betray him. Feng’s old 
counselor then suggested that Amleth be left alone 


with his mother, while he would hide in the room and 
witness his conversation and his actions. But Amleth 
was not deceived; still playing mad he ran his sword 
through a pile of straw' in the room and killed the old 

man hiding in it. . . 

Feng’s next move was to send Amleth to Britain with 
a letter to Britain’s king, directing him to put the bearer 
to death. The wary Amleth, however, changed the mes- 
sage to read that the king give his daughter in marriage 
to the “ivise youth" who brought this letter, and that 
the tivo courtiers with him be put to death. At the feast 
that night Amleth would not eat. When questioned he 
replied that the bread was bloody, the water tasted of 
iron, the meat smelled of human dead, and three times 
tlie queen had behaved like a bondivoman. These in- 
sults were reported to the king, who instead of being 
angry, investigated the source of the food. He discovered 
that the corn for the bread was grotvn on an old battle- 
field, that a rusty sword lay in the bottom of the well, 
that the pigs had broken loose and eaten the unburied 
corpse of a robber, and it was true that the queen had 
picked her teeth at table, lifted her skirts when she 
walked, etc. The king was impressed with the wisdom of 
this “wise youth,” and carried out in full the details of 
the altered letter. 

Amleth then returned to Denmark, killed Feng with 
Feng's own sword, and w'as received joyfully as king by 
his own people. Here is shown the ancient Teutonic 
(especially Danish) belief, the deep-rooted and almost 
religious conviction, that all perjurers and traitors must, 
and inevitably do, die by their own swords. 

Later Amleth returned to Britain, where his father- 
in-law, the king, sworn to avenge the death of his friend 
Feng, sent Amleth on an errand to Hermutrude, queen 
of Scotland, again bearing a scaled message instructing 
his death. But after once seeing Amleth and learning 
his story, the lady herself altered the letter to read that 
she must marry the bearer. Amleth was easily con- 
vinced that he should take a second wife, and did so. 
He defeated the king of Britain in battle by the strata- 
gem of placing dead men in upright positions to simu- 
late a huge army. His first wife remained loyal to him, 
so Amleth, with two wives, returned to Denmark. Later 
he was killed fighting against Wiglek of Denmark. 
Hermutrude had vowed she would die with him, but 
comforted herself by marrying Wiglek. 

There is a very old Norse version of this story in 
which two sons of the murdered king feign madness and 
avenge their father by setting fire to the hall. Through 
Saxo Grammaticus the Danish legend became widely 
known among Germanic peoples. It is, of course, the 
source of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, [mel] 

Ammit or Ammut In Egyptian mythology, an under- 
world monster, compounded of the hippopotamus and 
lion and having a crocodile’s jaws. Ammit was stationed 
at the scales of judgment in the hall of Osiris; those 
souls whose hearts were found heavy with sins were 
eaten by her. Compare Cerberus. 

Ammon or Anion The Greek and Roman name for 
the Egyptian god Amen, appearing as Zeus-Ammon and 
Jupiter-Ammon: when associated with Ra, Ammon-Ra, 
Ammon Re, Amon-Ra, or Amon Re. 

amniomanev Divination from the caul occasionally 
found enveloping the head of a new-born child: gener- 

ally European and believed to be originally h 
East. The condition of the caul, lax, dry, etc indica^ 

the future general state of health oi the 


amorous bite A folktale motif (T467) com i 
found in the various poison damsel stories, in w v J ■ 
poison damsel bites her lover on the lip, thus • 
her own poisonous saliva to enter his bloodstrea ^ 
that he dies. This seems to be associated with the ^ 
ancient (Babylonian) and very- widespread belief th? 
the spittle of witches is poisonous. See poison dcmsqT 

amphidromia The festival, held on the fifth dav t 
the birth of a child in Attica, Greece, during which if 
baby was carried at a running pace around the fanji 
hearth. During this celebration friends and relatii 
brought presents and the women who had assisted at tg 
birth cleansed their hands. This custom has been \aii 
ously explained as a purification rite, as an initiation 
rite, or as a rite to ensure fleet-footedness for the child 

amrita, amrta, or amrit In Hindu mythology, it ;; 
drink conferring immortality; the water of life produced 
at the Churning of the Ocean. The name is applied h 
the Vedas to various things sacrificed, but especially to 
the soma juice. 

Rahu, an asura, disguised himself as a god and ob- 
tained possession of some of the amrita which he drant 
in order to make himself immortal. Naroyana (Vishnu) 
caught him and cut off his head. Rahu’s body became 
the progenitor of the comets and meteors; his had, 
immortal because of the amrita he had been able to 
gulp, chases the sun and moon which betrayed him i 0 
Vishnu, and sometimes swallows them (eclipse). Com. 
pare ambrosia; mead; soma. 

Amsterdam The oldest of the capstan chanteys, men- 
tioned, though not specifically as a sea song, in The Haft 
of Lucrece, by Thomas Heywood, which was seen in 
London early in the 17th century. The chantey cele- 
brates the charms of a maid of Amsterdam who was 
“mistress of her trade,” and has become popular as a 
glee-club song. It is also called A-Rovin’, from the words 
of its refrain. 

amulet A material object, usually portable and du- 
rable, worn or carried on the person, placed in a house, 
or on or among one’s possessions, to protect the owner 
from dangers such as death, shipwreck, lightning, at- 
tacks by thieves or animals, evil spirits, witchcraft, or 
the evil eye; to aid him in acquiring luck, wealth, physi- 
cal strength, magical powers; and to bring success in 
hunting, trading, battle, or love. The use of amulets is 
world-wide among almost all peoples, and is famiiiarto 
almost all Americans in the form of horseshoes, luct; 
coins, watch-chain charms, and the rabbit’s foot. Amu- 
lets are not only worn by men, rvomen, and children, 
carried in bags or pockets or sewn to clothing, but they 
are attached to domestic animals, buildings, tools, 
weapons, placed in fields near growing crops, in store- 
houses, bams, henneries, and tied to dangerous rods, 
bridges, or at the top of passes. They are sometimes used 
as containers for the soul. Eskimo medicine men, for in- 
stance, conjure the soul of a sick child into an amulet 
to keep it out of harm during the illness. 

Amulets are primarily preventive and are to be dis- 
tinguished from talismans which transmit qualities, 
from charms which are magic formulas to be sung oi 




recited (also loosely applied to amulets over which 
charms have been said). 

Amulets of common stone chosen either for shape, 
color, or the impoitance of the place where found, arc 
worn by the Mongols as a protection against thunder 
and lightning, by the Jews to prevent miscarriage, itt 
Italy as a protection against witches (madteporitc) and 
lor the prevention and cure of snake bite (serpentine). 
In the Torres Straits water-worn pebbles are regarded 
as love charms. lit Ireland perforated stones of arty kind 
arc hung on cattle bytes to prevent malicious fairies 
from stealing the milk. Stones are worn try the Illackfoot 
Indians as hunting charms. Tire Avtnarn use beionr 
stones removed from the stomachs of Hamas or vicunas 
as amulets, fragments of stone arc carried by childless 

Amulets of animal parts or substances depend fre- 
quently for their efficacy on the sympathetic transfer- 
ence of tire characteristics or qualities of the animal from 
which they are acquired. Greenland Eskimos sew a 
hawk's head or feet into a boss clothing to make him a 
great hunter, the skin from the roof of a bear's mouth to 
give him strength, and a piece of a fox's head or dried 
fox thing to give him cunning. The Chickasaw Indians 
put the foot of a guinea deer itrto hunting pouches to 
make themselves successful lmntets. Ilidatsa girls wear 
heavers' teeth to make them industrious. The Dogribs 
carry antler points for success in luring deer or moose 
within rille range. 1 he Hototo wear breast ornaments of 
jaguar and monkey teeth to give them strength and skill. 

Plants or pans of plants such as seeds. Ircrrics. pieces 
of wood, and leaves, arc world-wide in amulctic use. 
Vegetable amulets far outnumber all other types in In- 
dia, where one of the most potent is made of chips from 
ten diffeicnt kinds of holy trees glued together and 
wrapped with gold wire. In Europe peas are thrown into 
the lap of a bride. Eating the fruit of a tree hearing for 
the first time, possessing mandrakes, or drinking birch- 
sap are all supjKi'ccl to produce fertility. The Greeks 
used snapdragons and peony lea against sorcery and an 
olive leaf bearing the name of Athena or an herb grown 
on the head of a statue tied around the head to cure 
headache. The Homans used garlic to keep off witches 
and touched the doorway with a sprig of strawberry 
plant for the same purpose. The Japanese use fruits, 
flowers, and vegetables amtilcticnlly in their homes and 
hang garlic at the doors to keep out infectious diseases. 
Double walnuts and almonds are worn as amulets 
against the evil eye, witches, headache, and for good 
luck in Italy. A jrowcrfnl Chinese amulet to ward oil evil 
spirits is made of peach wood or peach stones; padlocks 
made from peach kernels arc believed to hind children 
to life when attached to their feet. Many peoples be- 
lieve that a potato carried in the pocket keeps off harm 
and cures diseases. The Shoshone Indians use pow- 
dered spruce needles to prevent illness. The Apache and 
Navnlio filled and wore buckskin hags with pollen from 
the cat-tail and other plants to secure peace, prosperity, 
• and happiness. Petrified wood is used in Ilopi amulets. 

Manufactured amulets arc as widespread in use and 
almost as old as arc natural objects. Figurines of gods 
were buried under the thresholds of Assyrian palaces. 
Egyptian uras or sacred eves made of lapis-lazuli, gold, 
pottery, or wood, and the tiaz or green column usually 
made of feldspar, as well as the dad and buckle were 

placed in tombs for amulctic reasons. The Giccks used 
images of gods and geometric figures as amulets. The 
Homans attached small metal tattles and bulla: to their 
childien’s clothing. Vedic Indians used rings as amulets. 
The Celts had figures of the hoise, hull, and models of 
a wild hoar's tooth: the Mayas used golden frogs ar- 
ranged singly or in groups, images of lizatds, crocodiles, 
crabs, eagles, gulls, parrots, or monkeys, each provided 
with a ting for suspension ort a cord or chain. Certain 
Eskimos sometimes wear an image of the object for 
which they arc named. The I.engtia use wax images for 
good luck in hunting. The Iroquois carry miniature 
canoes to keep from drowning. The Hindus wear lockets 
containing the image of a god or goddess. And the Japa- 
nese use hells and images of deities in addition to the 
more common written amulets. 

Whether or not all ornamental jewelry was originally 
amulctic is open to question, hut jewelry is worn for 
amulctic purposes in many parts of the world. In India, 
rings of copper, silver, gold, or iron arc worn to repel 
sorcery. In the Punjab copper rinp or earrings ate worn 
to frighten away the sciatica spirit. In southern India an 
important part of the marriage rite is the tying-on of the 
lucky thtcad which is a sallton-coloied cord attached to 
a small pcmlantlike gold ornament. This is worn around 
the neck for the same teason the wedding ring is worn 
in Europe, and because it is believed to hting good luck. 
The Lapps attach a brass ting to the right arm while 
transferring a corpse to a coffin anti then to the grave to 
prevent the ghost of the deceased from doing any harm. 
American N'cgtors believe a silver ring, a ring inscribed 
with Chinese characters, or a ring made ftonr a horse- 
shoe nail to he good luck. Chinese children arc protected 
from harm try jade bracelets or anklets, and Tibetan 
vsouren vsear chatelaines depending from a small silver 
casket which usually contains an amulet or charm. 

The elements included in Jewish wiitten amulets were 
the names of God and angels, llihlical expressions or 
phrases, a list of the functions of the amulet, and the 
name of the person for whom the amulet was designed 
and that of his mother. Another type of written amulet 
coirsistcd of a scries of figures made of curved and 
straight lines tipped with circles, interspersed with geo- 
metric forms. The Zahlcnquadrat or magic square, 
formed by a scries of numbers arranged so that the sum 
of the numbers in each tow. whether added vertically, 
diagonally, or horizontally, would he the same, was 
popular among Christian cahalists and adapted by me- 
dieval Jews. The mezuzah, otiginally anti-demonic in 
character, was given a religious significance hv the rabbis 
svlio had Bible verses (Drill, vi, 1-9; \i. 13-21) inscribed 
on it as a reminder of the principle of monotheism, hut 
its amulctic properties have always outweighed its re- 
ligious significance. The Chinese and Moslems use simi- 
lar strips of paper. The former hang them over doors, on 
bed curtains, and even wear them in the hair. 

Tibetan amulets arc frequently pieces of paper in- 
scribed with sentences to Buddha, while those of Ethi- 
opia (which measure from 50 centimeters to two meters 
in length) contain legends, spells, secret signs, words 
of power, spells, and legends explaining how they origi- 
nated. These scrolls are rolled and hound with cord, 
sewed in a leather case or inserted in a telescoping cap- 
side. Japanese amulets against lightning, dangers while 
traveling, sickness, burns, and to better one's fortune. 


are usually roughly printed sacred texts or rude wood- 
cuts of the divinity appealed to, printed with words ex- 
plaining the purpose of the amulet, folded, and en- 
closed in an envelope. These are sold at temples, are not 
taken out and read, but are renewed annually. Compare 
fetish; geo; grigri; macic object; talisman, [sth] 

An or Ana The Sumerian god of the sky, to whom 
Nammu, the sea, gave birth. By Ki, the female earth- 
goddess, An was father of Enlil, god of the air. When 
earth and sky were separated. An carried off the heavens, 
Enlil the earth. Enlil superseded An as chief god of the 
Sumerian pantheon by the 3rd millennium B.C., though 
An nominally remained chief. The word an is ideo- 
graphically represented by an eight-pointed star which 
is prefixed to the names of gods; it signifies high or 
heaven, and may also signify, as here, "god." dingir. 
Compare Anu; Anunnaki. 

Anahita The ancient Iranian Great Mother; the god- 
dess of fertility, especially of fertilizing waters, and spe- 
cifically of the spring among the stars from which flowed 
all the rivers of the earth: worshipped from Iran west- 
ward to the zEgean and identified with other Great 
Mothers of the region like Nina, Ishtar, Semiramis, Cy- 
bele. Aphrodite. She appears in the pantheon of Maz- 
daism after Zoroaster and is closely associated with 
Mithra or Mazda as one of the chief deities of the re- 
ligion. An entire Ya3t or hymn of praise, is given to her 
in the Avesta. She is called there Ardvi Sura Anahita, the 
high, powerful, undefiled one. Anahita was the goddess 
of reproduction and of the maintenance of good things; 
she “purified the seed of the male and the womb and 
the milk of the female.” She was called upon by mar- 
riageable girls and by women in childbirth; she aided in 
time of great illness. She is described in the Avesta as a 
beautiful maiden, tall and powerful, wrapped in a gold- 
embroidered cloak, wearing earrings, necklace, and 
crown of gold, and adorned with thirty otter skins. Ana- 
hita was also the goddess of war and drove a chariot with 
four white horses (wind, rain, cloud, hail); she gave 
victory to a contender. Through the influence of Chal- 
dean star-worship, she became identified with the planet 

In Armenia, as Anahit, she was the most popular of 
all the gods. Here she was identified with neither the 
planet nor the waters of fertility. She had several tem- 
ples, particularly the great sanctuary at Akilisene, where 
members of both sexes of the nobility entered her serv- 
ice as slaves, and where the female slaves practiced sa- 
cred prostitution. 

In Pontus and Cappadocia, and perhaps in Cilicia, 
she became identified with the goddess Ma. She was 
probably brought to Sardis in Lydia by Artaxerxes II, 
and there merged with Cybele. Her noisy and licentious 
rites occurred in Armenia about the 15th of September. 

The Greeks, who also called her Anaitis, the Athena 
of Ilium, and the Persian Artemis, confounded her with 
Aphrodite as a fertility goddess, and with Athena as a 
war goddess. Since the bull was sacred to Anahita, she 
became confused with the Greek Artemis Tauropolos in 
Lydia, Armenia, and Cappadocia. Generally she tvas 
known as the mistress of the beasts; sacred herds of white 
heifers were branded with her mark, a torch, and sacri- 
ficed to her along with green branches in Armenia. After 
the 1st century A.D., her worship as Magna Mater spread 


through the Latin world along with that of Mith n 

Anahita is probably of Semitic origin, perhaps kl e 
tical with Anath. The temple prostitution practiced b 
her worshippers and her identification with Nina and 
Ishtar give support to the view. Herodotus says that tl 
Persians learned from the Assyrians to worship (if 
heavenly Aphrodite "whom they call Mithra," which 
latter may be a misreading of Anahita. In inscriptionsof 
the Achmmenian kings of Persia, Mithra and Anahita 
are united. 

Ananga The bodiless; an epithet of Kama, Hindu 
god of love: so called because he was consumed by the 
fire of Siva’s eye when he interrupted Siva’s devotions 
with thoughts of Parvati. 

Ananscscm Literally, spider stories: generic title of a 
class of folktales told by the Akan-speaking peoples of 
West Africa, and so called whether the spider takes p :in 
in the story or not. The Anansescm are told for group 
entertainment and are definitely distinguished from the 
myths. They are also known as Nyankonsem, or “words 
of the sky god.” 

Once upon a time Kwaku Ananse, the Spider, went to 
buy the sky god’s stories. The price to be paid was very 
great. Nyame, the sky god, demanded in exchange that 
Kwaku Ananse bring him the python, the leopard, the 
fairy, and the hornets. Spider promised all these things 
and returned home. One by one he tricked the prizes 
into his possession, and then added his mother to the 
lot for good measure. The sky god was so amazed that 
Kwaku Ananse, the Spider, could bring in the price of 
the stories when very great kings and chiefs had often 
failed, that he called his chiefs and leaders in for con- 
sultation. The verdict was that beginning that day the 
sky god’s stories should henceforth belong to Kwaku 
Ananse and be called Anansesem, Spider stories, forever. 
The Paramaribo Negroes of Surinam, South America, 
give the generic title of Anansi-lori to all their folktale. 
In Curasao they are called cucnta di nans't. 

Anansi The Spider: hero and trickster of an enormous 
body of West African folktales. Under various names he 
plays the same outrageous, cunning, and wily role in the 
folklore of the Gold Coast, the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, 
Liberian, Togo, Dahomcan, Hausa, Yoruban, Warn, 
Fiort, Camcroons, Congo, and Angolan peoples. He is 
known everywhere in the West Indies and other parts 
of the New World, and has become almost as familiar to 
white children through their countless Mammies and 
Uncle Remuses, as to Negro children. 

Among the Hausas the Spider is named Gizo; the 
Akan-speaking peoples call him Kwaku Ananse. In 
Curasao Anansi has become Nansi. He turns up as Miss 
Nancy in South Carolina Sea Island folktales, and in 
Gullah, specifically, as Aunt Nancy. ’Ti Malice is his 
name in Haiti. He survives as Anansi, however, among 
the Surinam Negroes, both Paramaribo and Bush, and 
in Jamaica. In Jamaica the Anansi stories are now told 
chiefly at wakes and other gatherings for the dead. The 
Negroes of Trinidad are said to have lost interest in 
them; but here too they are still told at wakes. The real 
Anansi perpetuators in Trinidad, hosvever, are the chil- 
dren, who not only know' the stories, but know them 
well, and tell and retell them to cadi other. 

Anansi was originally a creator of the world in Gold 
Coast mythology, and still plays the role of culture hero 



in such talcs as those in which he steals the sun. In 
Bantu folklore Spider is definitely associated with the 
sun. His dominant role, however, throughout Negro 
folktale everywhere is that of the crafty and cunning 
trickster who prospers by his wits. He is always duping 
other animals, to his own profit, and sometimes man, 
in some modern versions sometimes missionaries. Tiger 
is frequently the butt of his jokes; but occasionally 
Anansi falls into his own pit or fails to outwit one or 
another of his intended victims. He is also somewhat of 
a magician, being able to appear sometimes as man, 
sometimes as spider. There arc a number of stories in 
which Anansi turns into a spider at the moment of 
gteatest danger, thus saving himself from some awful 
jetribution, and thus sometimes explaining the origin 
of spiders. He figures in numerous versions of the tar- 
baby story, of which several variants account for his 
flattened body. 

The character of the Spider of West African folktale 
is paralleled by that of Hare and Tortoise in the story 
cycles of certain Bantu tribes, and by Brer Rabbit in the 
southern United States. B'Rabby in the Bahamas is the 
same folktale trickster hero. Ilis name is a byword in 
West African proverb: "Woe to him who would put his 
trust in Anansi— a sly, selfish, and greedy fellow” and 
“The wisdom of the spider is greater than that of all the 
world put together." One of the most famous of the 
Anansi stories (Ashanti and Yortiba) is the one about the 
pot always full of food, found and broken by Anansi’s 
children, and the whip which he got to punish them, 
which would not stop beating them when they investi- 
gated it as they had the pot. See Ananskskm. 

Anansi and the Gum Doll Anansi kept stealing the 
food out of a man’s (or the king's, or another animal's) 
big field. But the man did not know who it was. So he 
put a big gum doll out there. When Anansi saw the 
gum doll he thought it was a real person. “Hello, there," 
he called out. But the gum doll made no answer. "An- 
swer me or I'll kick you,” cried Anansi. The gum doll 
did not answer. Then Anansi kicked him and his foot 
stuck. "Let loose or I'll hit you,” he cried. The gum doll 
did not let loose. Then Anansi hit him and his hand 
stuck. He kicked with the other foot and that stuck; he 
hit with the other hand and that stuck. Then the man 
came out to find the thief. And the man beat Anansi 
until his body was flat as fiat (until lie got eight legs; 
until he had the mark of a cross on his back). 

This story- is especially interesting as being the bare 
bones of the Anansi-tar-baby combination as told in 
Africa, with a few of the Surinam variants indicated. The 
same story is told of Hare in Angola, of Jackal among 
the Hottentots. For the whole gamut of Anansi-llarc- 
Rabbit-Tortoisc-Jackal substitutions and tar-baby vari- 
ants, sec each of these and also Brer Rarrit; stick- east; 

Anansi Rides Tiger Anansi remarked to the king that 
he rode Tiger. The king doubted it, so he asked Tiger. 
Tiger said "No" and went to fetch Anansi to make him 
take back the words. But Anansi said he could not go 
now; lie was too ill; he could not walk; he could not 
stand up. But Tiger would not wait; Anansi must come 
to the king at once and take back that lie— even if Tiger 
had to carry him there himself! So Anansi consented— 
just to prove to Tiger that he never said any such thing 

in the first place. But Anansi needed a saddle, just to 
brace his feet, he was so weak, lest lie fall oil. Tiger was 
in a hurry; lie consented with impatience. Then Anansi 
needed a bridle, just to hold on tot— and a whip, just to 
swish the flics away! Tiger did not care, as long as 
Anansi would come to the king right away and take 
back the lie. So they arrived at the king's house; Tiger 
galloping, Anansi in the saddle, plying the whip, pulling 
on the bridle, and crying to the king to come look— 
Anansi rides Tigcrl 

This is the story ns told by the Surinam Negroes, both 
urban and bush. They have another version which ends 
with the spider living in the king's house forever, as re- 
ward for bringing him such a fine horse. In the parallel 
Sierra Leone story Turtle rides Leopard. Br’er Rabbit 
rides Br'er Fox or Br'er Wolf in southern U. S. Negro 

Anansi-tori The Anansi stories: generic term among 
the Surinam Negroes for the great body of spider stories 
transplanted from West Africa. They vary very little in 
urban and bush versions. These arc the same spider 
trickster folktales known to the Ashanti as Ananscscm, 
and include also the same story of how they canic to be 
so called. 

The Paramaribo Negroes include the Anansi-tori as 
an important feature of their rites for the dead, espe- 
cially on the eighth night after a death, when the eve- 
ning begins with hymns and riddling and the stories last 
till dawn. They arc never, never told in the daytime by 
anyone, lest the dead come and listen and their prox- 
imity cause the death of the narrator or his parents. The 
Sarnmacra Bush-Negroes tell these stories to the dead 
during the seven days a body lies in the village death 
house awaiting burial. Owing to the importance at- 
tached to them as entertainment for the dead, the term 
has become extended to include also the dances for the 
ancestors and the songs sung during these rites. 

Atlanta In Hindu mythology, an epithet meaning 
the infinite, applied to the serpent Scsli.o and sometimes 
to Hindu deities, especially to Vishnu. 

Anapcl Literally, in the Koryak language. Little 
Grandmother: the name for the divining stone whereby 
titc Koryak father discovers the name of the dead rela- 
tive whose soul has just been reborn in his newborn 
child, and whose name that child must bear. The di- 
vining stone is hung on a stick and allowed to swing to 
and fro of itself while the stick is suspended. The father 
calls the roll of all dead relations on both sides of the 
family. When Anapcl quickens in her swinging, it is a 
sign that at that moment has just been mentioned the 
name of the dead relative whose soul has come to live in 
the newborn child. Thus the child is named, and the 
father carries it through the village announcing. "A 
relative has come,” or to this one and that one, “Your 
father has come" or “Your uncle has come.” 

Anath or ’Anat A primitive Semitic war goddess of 
Syria, the "queen of heaven, mistress of the gods.” wor- 
shipped widely in the Semitic world, whose cult was in 
Egypt by the reign of Thothnies III (15th century B.C.) 
where she became daughter of Rft. She is represented 
with helmet, shield and spear in right hand, battle-ax or 
club in left; a late picture shows her seated on a lion. 
No connection of Anath with the Babylonian Antu has 
been proved; she may be identical with the Syro-I’ha-- 


nician Anthvt and the later Antams, both Phomiaan 
war goddesses. She was identified in the Hellenistic pe- 
riod with Athena. See Semitic mytholocv. 

ancestor worsliip Veneration (only occasionally actual 
worship in the religious sense) of ancestral spirits: per- 
haps the most widespread of all religious forms, always 
implying animistic belief, and sometimes linked with 
totemism. The cult of the dead, those observances meant 
to dispose of the body and attend to die comfort of the 
spirit of the dead, is based in the belief in souls; ances- 
tor worship considers die effect these not-quite-departed 
spirits may have on the world of the living and varies 
its cult observances accordingly. The dead may be 
malevolent or benevolent, feared or admired, given 
bribes to keep them from working mischief or gifts to 
make them happy. The tremendous mass of ei idence of 
ancestor worsliip indicates that belief in die unfriendly 
dead is more prevalent than belief in well-wishing 
spirits, but no conclusion drawn from this, no general- 
izadon about die ways of the mind of primitive man, is 
completely valid. That ancient Greek and other religions 
seem based in propitiation of the ever-present evil 
spirits of the dead is balanced by an equally widely dis- 
tributed belief that the spirits of dead parents and dead 
chiefs guard those who remain alive. The dead fadicr or 
chief continues to guide his family or tribe; the stranger 
or the enemy, or the victim of an accident snatched from 
life suddenly, still may cause trouble through evilness or 
envy. Offerings are made, occasionally or at stated in- 
tervals, in either case: the evil spirit must be made to 
feel that he has something to gain by not molesting the 
people; the good spirit is deserving of the care a grate- 
ful people can give him. 

Possession by an ancestral spirit may be oracular, or it 
may be through metempsychosis (or reincarnation). The 
newly bom child may have the spirit of a departed an- 
cestor, thus the naming of children for the revered dead. 
Thus also the feeling that a family has a larger bond, 
beyond its immediate descent, in the duty it owes to the 
dead. In a wider application, the clan, claiming descent 
from a common ancestor, may heroize or deify the an- 
cestor; and if the clan or tribal myth is such, the ancestor 
may be the totem animal. There is no way of knowing 
into what form or shape the ancestral spirit will reap- 
pear on earth; it may be in a stone, a mountain, a scor- 
pion, a cat, or any person whatever. See mamsm. 
seS 3 * In ancient China, ancestor worship was a well- 
developed cult in the Chou Dynasty, c. 1000 B.C. In mod- 
em China it has religious and civic aspects. Religious: 
The male head of the family or dan must make periodic 
sacrifices of ceremonies and food before the tablets and 
graves of his ancestors, though the more recently dead 
receive the greater homage. The two souls, the superior 
soul in heaven and the inferior soul informing the body, 
are thus nourished until disintegration occurs. If the 
souls of the ancestors are not sufficiently nourished they 
become ghosts and create mischief. Civic: The doctrine 
that proper respect must be paid ancestors, living or 
dead, was part of the Confudan attempt to restore seem- 
liness in a decadent culture. Parents' natural desire that 
they be taken care of after death and tales of the wicked- 
ness of hungry ghosts are two facets of an attitude whidi 
has had such wide sodal acceptance that it is much more 
than a doctrine or creed, [rdj] 

— . 

ancestral tablets In Chinese and JapaneseaT'T' 

worship, wooden tablets inscribed with the nam ^ 
birth and death dates of the deceased, kept j n 
cestral hall of a clan or in a household shrine, t 0 ^ 
offerings and prayers are made, and used when an w 
are to be made at the shrine rather than at the t -^ 
itself: probably derived from the burial of the de«2 
within the home plot. The tablets are believed to lA 
cupied by the spirits of the deceased when the ogoy* 
arc made, but after the offerings are completed 2 
spirits depart. The Chinese tablets, traditionally otH 
nating during the Chou dynasty (1122-255 B.C.) 2 
finding their source much earlier, are interlocking 
fit into a wooden base. The last two characters of tw 
inscription mean “spirit throne," and the very ha j, 
left uncompleted until a ceremonial “canonization 
when a priest adds the finishing touches to the leu- 
The tablets are carried in the funeral procession and 2 ~, 
kept, following the mourning period, in the ancestpi 
shrine. Among the poorer classes, who cannot affords 
cestral halls, the tablets are usually kept in the 
rear comer of the living room in the household shrii- 
being placed there with invocation of Tso Sha Sts 
Chun, the God of Spirit-Tablet-to-Ancestors. Offerii; 
arc made before the tablets in certain days, such as tK. 
anniversary of death, and the Ch'ing Ming Festival, sosa 
three months after the winter solstice. 

In Japanese Buddhism, the that is a rectangular tab- 
let, rounded at the top and inscribed with name and 
dates. Offerings are made to it, especially at the Ben 
festival, when spirits are thought to come into the world 
Similar tablets are found in parts of coastal New- Guinea. 

Anclianchu A terrible demon in the folklore of tie 
modem Aymara Indians. He deceives the unwary with 
his smiles and friendship and then afflicts them with 
deadly diseases. He also sucks the blood of his victim 
during their sleep. The Aymaras believe that his pres- 
ence is accompanied by whirlwinds, and they avoid 
rivers and isolated places where he is supposed to re- 
side. [am] 

anchunga Tapirape Indian (central Brazil) term lot 
two kinds of spirits: true spirits (i.e. the disembodied 
souls of human beings), and malevolent demons. Tapi- 
rape shamans often sec the true spirits in dreams. A 
famous shaman and culture hero of Tapirape legend, 
named Ware, destroyed all the evil anchunga in the 
south. He set fire to their hair, which was so long thatii 
dragged on the ground behind them. The anchunga to 
the north, however, are still active. 

Ancient Spider The creator of Nauru Island (Micro, 
nesian) mythology. See Areop-Enap. 

Andersen, Hans Cliristian (1805— 1S75) Danish poet 
and story writer, second perhaps only to the Grimms in 
world-wide reputation as a teller of fairy tales. He was 
bom in southern Denmark, the son of a shoemaker who 
died in 1816, leaving the boy more or less to his own 
devices in spending his time. He quit school and, becom- 
ing interested in the theater, built his own toy theater, 
dressed his own puppets, and read every play he could 
lay his hands on. In 1819, convinced that he had a good 
voice, he went to Copenhagen and haunted theatrical 
managers unsuccessfully, getting a reputation for being 
slightly crazy, and starving slowly. However, some 



friends he had made, notably Jonas Collin, director of 
the Royal Theater saw to it that the king, Frederick VI, 
had the youth sent to grammar school, where he re- 
mained until 1827. In 1829 his first success, a satirical 
fantasy, A Journey on Foot from Holman’s Canal to the 
East Point of Amager, was published. After some indif- 
ferent pieces, in 1835 The Improvisor became a great 
success, and Andersen an established author. In the same 
year he published the first of his Fairy Tales ( Eventyr ), 
and until 1872 they continued to appear, slowly gaining 
for their author a world-wide fame. He continued writ- 
ing novels, plays, miscellanies, travel books, as well. In 
1872 he injured himself severely, falling out of bed, and 
died three years later without ever having fully recov- 
ered from the effects of the fall. Among Andersen’s best 
known fairy tales, somewhat literary and often tragic 
and moralizing renderings of well-known types and mo- 
tifs in the folktale, are: The Ugly Duckling, The Tinder 
Box, The Red Shoes, The Snow Queen, Big Claus and 
Little Claus, The Fir Tree, The Emperor’s New Clothes, 
The Fellow Traveler, The Little Mermaid, The Tin 
Soldier, The Little Match Girl, The Ice Maiden. His 
stories were first translated into English by Mary Howitt 
in 1846 and by Caroline Peachey also in 1846. 

St. Andrew’s cross The saltire or decussate cross, 
formed like the letter X, common in ancient sculpture, 
and still to be seen as a symbol (usually white on a blue 
field) as in the Union Jack of Great Britain. St. Andrew 
is said to have been crucified on such a cross, but the 
legend has not been traced back farther than the 14th 
century, and the cross in the convent of St. Victor at 
Marseilles, reputed to be his, is an ordinary upright 
cross exhibited resting on the cross beam and foot. 
Achaius, king of the Scots, and Hungus, king of the 
Piets, saw this cross in the heavens before their battle 
with Athelstane, which they won. They therefore 
adopted the cross as the national emblem of Scotland. 

St. Andrew’s Day November 30: the day of the mar- 
tyrdom of St. Andrew, and the only Apostle’s day said 
to be observed on such an anniversary. It is a day for 
reunion of Scotsmen residing abroad, and for banquets 
and feasting by Scotsmen everywhere. There are several 
local customs in the British Isles on this day, as the car- 
rying of a sheep’s head in procession before the Scots 
(London), a driving out of evil spirits with noise and a 
ringing back again of good ones with bells (Stratton in 
Cornwall). On the evening of St. Andrew’s Day in Ger- 
many [Luther's Table-Talk ], young maidens strip them- 
selves naked, recite a prayer to St. Andrew, and hope to 
see "what manner of man it is that shall lead me to the 
altar.” A form of divination is performed on St. An- 
drew's Day by young Germans, in which little cups of 
foil representing each of the young people present are 
floated in a vessel of water and, by their approach to 
each other and to cups representing priests, establish a 
sort of marriage and sweetheart divination. 

Androclcs and the Lion Designation for a type of 
folktale appearing all over the world and belonging to 
the great cycle of grateful animal tales. The type takes 
its name from a story appearing in the Nodes Atticce ■ 
of Aulus Gellius, but is undoubtedly much older. An- 
drocles, a runaway slave, hides in a cave, into which 
comes a lion. Instead of attacking him, the lion holds 
■up a paw in which a thorn is sticking. Androdes extracts 

the thorn. He is recaptured and sentenced to fight a lion 
in the arena. The lion is the one he has aided and re- 
fuses to kill him, with the result that Androcles gains 
his freedom. The story appears in /Esop, in the Gesla 
Romanorum, etc. The moralizing turn of the tale, good- 
ness for goodness, marks it as being probably of oriental 
origin. In the Katha Sarit Sagara, a Brahman rescues a 
monkey and in return is given a fruit which makes him 
immune to old age and disease. A hunter abandoned by 
his companions, in a Wyandot story, draws a sharp ob- 
ject from a lion’s paw and is given many hunting charms. 

Andromeda In Greek legend, the daughter of 
Cepheus, king of Ethiopia. Cassiopeia, her mother, 
boasted that she was more beautiful than the Nereids, 
and Poseidon, at the nymphs’ request, sent a monster 
to ravage the country. At the direction of the oracle of 
Amon, her parents had Andromeda chained to a rock, 
said to have been at Joppa, as a sacrifice to end the 
monster’s ravages. Flying back from the slaying of the 
Gorgon, Perseus saw her, fell in love with her at sight, 
and after a bitter struggle with the monster slew it, 
either by means of Medusa’s head, or with his sword. 
Cepheus then fulfilled his promise and gave Andromeda 
in marriage to Perseus. A disappointed suitor, Phineus, 
burst in on the marriage feast, but Perseus again raised 
the Gorgon’s head and changed Phineus and his fol- 
lowers into stone. The couple later went to live on the 
island of Seriphus. They had many children, among 
them Electryon, the father of Alcmene; Alcatus, the 
father of Amphitryon, and Perses, the ruler after whom 
the Persians were named. Compare Andromeda theme. 

The constellation Andromeda is hung just north of 
Cassiopeia, appropriately between Perseus and Pegasus, 
and safely out cr reach of Cetus. The concept of this 
constellation as the Woman Chained is far older than 
the classical story. The Maiden Chained was known to 
the Chaldeans, for instance; and the Babylonian story of 
Marduk and Tiamat as told in the Creation Epic is 
perhaps the basis for the later Andromeda legend. Al- 
most everywhere and in all times it has had the same 
designation. The Arabs too interpreted it as A1 Mar’ah 
al Musalsalah (the Woman in Chains), but never showed 
the human form in their depictions, lest the image de- 
mand its soul on the Judgment Day. Instead they showed 
it as a Seal with a chain around its neck. Alternate 
names for it among classic Latin writers were Persea, 
an interpretation of Andromeda as the bride of Perseus, 
and Cepheis, for her father. 

Andromeda theme A principal theme of the dragon- 
slayer type (#300) of the folktale, in which a maiden 
about to be sacrificed to a monster is rescued by a hero: 
spread all over the world, and often combined with 
other themes of the dragon-slayer type. It is perhaps an 
elaboration of the scry ancient concept of the fight be- 
tween light and darkness found in the Babylonian 
Marduk-Tiamat combat, or a reflection of the ancient 
custom of making human sacrifices to the water gods. 
Tales containing the theme are found from Central 
Asia to the Americas. In a French-Canadian story, 
Ti-Jean kills the monster, cuts out its seven tongues, 
and confounds a would-be glory-stealer when the latter 
presents the seven heads as proof of his supposed 
prowess. A Gipsy tale from the Transylvanian region 
tells of a hero transformed into a woman who slays the 



motionless in a trance) flies away with it to unknown 
strange regions where he may propitiate the angry ones. 
Sometimes he is tied with ropes during this spirit-flight, 
but when he returns the ropes are always found to be 
untied. His hardest job of all is to drive away Scdna 
from the village. This is undertaken only by the most 
powerful of the angakut and is accomplished at the 
Feast of Scdna. The angakok is always paid for his 
services. He is always feared and obeyed; but if he is 
discovered using his powers to a bad end, he is killed. 

Angang The ominousness of an encounter; a form of 
divination, usually limited to the first person or animal 
met in going on or returning from a journey, but some- 
times including those encountered while journeying: a 
German term applied by folklorists specifically to this 
belief throughout northern Europe, although similar 
beliefs are world-wide. The omen may be lucky, as in 
encountering a man or a horse, or unlucky (old woman, 
priest, raven, etc.). There seems to be a relationship 
between the purpose of the journey and the role of the 
one encountered. For example, while any such meeting 
with an old woman, a symbol of barrenness, would be 
considered unlucky, an encounter with any woman in 
starting a specifically manly pursuit, like hunting, would 
be unpropitious. Meeting with an animal is ominous in 
so far as the animal itself is generally ominous; divina- 
tion from such encounters sometimes takes on totemic 

angel of death Azracl, the terrible angel of Jewish 
and Mohammedan belief, who takes the soul from the 
dying body. Related to belief in the angel of death is 
the concept of the psychopomp, a being who, like the 
Greek Hermes and the Araucanian Tcmpulcague, con- 
ducts the soul to its afterworld home or to the judgment 

angels An order of spiritual beings attendant upon 
the Deity: the heavenly guardians, ministering spirits, 
or messengers, or their fallen counterparts. The term 
must be limited to such beings in monotheistic belief, 
the subordination in duty and in essence inherent in 
the definition not being present in polytheistic or 
animistic religions. Angels, as in Christianity, Judaism, 
and Islam, often seem to be almost polytheistic deities 
of natural phenomena and abstract qualities. There 
have been times, for example, when the cult of angels 
has become very strong within the framework of Christi- 
anity. However, where Zeus may be strong as father, 
ruler, and despot among his surrounding gods, clearly 
his role is not the supreme one of Jehovah amid the 
angels. It has been surmised that where some saints 
and similar personalities preserve local pagan deities 
in the changed context of a new religion, angels are the 
survival in a like attempt to satisfy a popular belief in 
animistic deities while preserving the monotheistic out- 
line. The yazatas, fravashis, and Amesha Spcntas of 
Zoroastrian belief are, most clearly of all angelic beings, 
simply deposed animistic gods. 

In pre-Captivity Hebrew literature, angels, not much 
further differentiated, are the "sons of God” or the "mes- 
sengers of God,” "the messengers” or the "holy ones.” 
Later, beginning with the book of Daniel, certain angels 
arc named and take on distinct personalities, e.g. 
Michael, Gabriel. Some time previously, there had been 
attempts to differentiate and rank the various classes of 

angels— cherubim, seraphim, liayyot, ofanim, arelim— 
but on the whole the Biblical writers accept and do not 
speculate on the angels. In the centuries between the 
completion of the Old Testament canon (about 100 B.C.) 
and that of the Talmud (’1th to Gth centuries A.D.), a 
great angclology arose, diffuse and formless because of 
the variations in place and time in which the materials 
came into being, but strongly affecting written tradition. 
At about the same time as the writing of the Talmud, 
the supposed writings of Dionysius the Arcopagite, who 
is mentioned (Acts xvii, 34) as hearing Paul preach at 
Mars Hill, set forth the basic structure of the angel- 
ology which was to be accepted in the Middle Ages and 
after [The Celestial Hierarchy, ch. 15]. 

According to the pseudo-Arcopagitc writings, there 
are three triads of the celestial hierarchy between God 
and man. The first and nearest to God includes Sera- 
phim, Cherubim, and Thrones; the second, which re- 
ceives the reflection of the Divine Presence from the 
first, comprises Dominions, Virtues, and Powers; the 
third, the angelic triad, ministering directly to man, in- 
cludes Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. The term 
angel is applied to all, though specifically limited to the 
ninth and lowest class. The names themselves come 
from earlier writings: seraphim and cherubim from the 
Old Testament; archangel and angel from later Jewish 
texts; and the remainder from the New Testament 
(Eph. i, 21; Col. i, 1G). On this structure there was later 
piled a mass of cabalistic magical terminology, the 
names of angels (and demons) to be invoked for per- 
sonal reasons of gain, of health, etc., with the formulas 
for calling and controlling each. 

The many theological questions concerning angels— 
tlicir elementary composition, their existence before the 
Creation, the well-known cliche about their size (how 
many coidd stand on a needle point), their duties, as- 
pect, etc.— do not fall within the scope of folklore. Nor 
properly is the question of their representation in 
heraldry and art a folkloric subject, except in so far as 
it is later reflected in popular belief, although the trans- 
formation of the angel to resemble the Greek winged 
victory, and the evolution of the cherubim from tho 
terrible figures placed to guard Eden to the cupidlikc 
winged babies, arc inherently interesting. It is rather in 
their contacts with men that the angels enter the prov- 
ince of folklore. Many of the texts of the Bible, for 
example, have a later embroider)’ of angclology in the 
traditions of the people, although here too it is some- 
times difficult to determine the boundary lines among 
theological, literary, and folk traditions. For example, 
in Jewish legend, Esther, wishing to accuse Ahasucrus 
of condemning her people, had her hand directed by an 
angel to point at Haman; when Haman tried to plead 
with her while the king walked in the garden, an angel 
tripped him so that he fell on her bed in an attitude 
that made Ahasucrus think he was trying to attack 
Esther (compare Esther vii, 5-8). The angel visitors to 
Abraham find parallels in the visits of the gods and other 
superhumans in other folktales, e.g. the visit of Zeus and 
Hermes to Philemon and Baucis in later Greek tradition, 
and the European story of the three wishes granted first 
to the good host and then to the bad one. 

An Arab story concerns two fallen angels, Harut and 
Marut, who came to earth, were tempted, and fell. 
Offered the choice between punishment on earth and 


punishment hereafter, they chose the former as having 
a limit. Thus, Harut and Marut hang in a well in Babel 
where they teach the secrets of magic to men, “Yet no 
man did these two teach until they had said, 'We are 
only a temptation. Be not then an unbeliever. 
(Koran, Sura ii, 96). _ 

Perhaps the best known of all folktales in which an 
angel figures is the originally Indian story told in one 
form by Longfellow about Robert of Sicily (Tales of a 
Wayside Inn). The angel replaces the proud prince who 
is then thrust out by his own retainers, and who cannot 
gain recognition until he realizes true humility. ith 
varied incidents, the story has been told of a number of 
princes, even of Solomon in Jewish tradition, Solomon 
being tricked by the demon Asmodeus who takes his 
place for three years, during which Solomon wanders. 
Finally the true king forces Asmodeus to flee by de- 
manding that he show his foot. Compare Amesha 
Spentas; animism; archangel; fravashi; polytheism. 

angklung An ancient musical instrument of south- 
eastern Asia and Indonesia, consisting of bamboo pipes 
set loosely in a frame and tuned so as to produce a chord 
when shaken. Whole sets of such instruments have been 
found used together as an orchestra in old Balinese 
villages. The music accompanies marching. In Java it 
was used to signal the approach of the ruler and in time 
of war. 

Angler and the Little Fish One of Aesop's fables 
(Jacobs #53). An Angler once caught a little fish who 
begged to be thrown back in the river. He was too small, 
he said, hardly a mouthful, but if the man would throw 
him back, he would then grow to full size so the man 
could catch him again to greater profit. "Oh, no,” said 
the man, “I have got you now, and there is no certainty 
that you would not escape me in the future." Present 
possessions are preferable to future possibilities. A small 
thing surely possessed is better than a great thing in 
prospect. See bird in the hand. 

Angra Mainyu (Old Persian Drauga, Modern Persian 
Ahriman) In Zoroastrian religion, the devil or prin- 
ciple of evil: the opponent of Ahura Mazda. Angra 
Mainyu arose from the abyss of endless darkness or was 
the product of a moment of doubt on the part of Ahura 
Mazda. He is a demon of demons from the beginning, 
whose sole purpose and choice is to thwart good, and 
w'hose greatest satisfaction and victory is achieved when 
a human soul rebels against Ahura Mazda. He is the 
source of death, disease, and disorder, and the innovator 
of all imperfections. At his side is Druj, the female 
embodiment of evil. 

In Zoroastrian mythology and legend, to destroy the 
faithful he formed the dragon Azhi Dahaka; to destroy 
the gaokerena, or tree of life, growing in the sea Vouru- 
kasha, he created a great lizard. In one myth he slew 
the primeval ox, Geush Urvan. 

Angra Mainyu is not eternal. At the resurrection he 
will be annihilated or imprisoned in the earth, since sin 
will be removed from the world. He does not know his 
fate, so is unable to devise means to guard himself 
against it. Compare Satan. 

Angur-boda or AngThodlia In Norse mythology', a 
giantess of Utgard, the worker of calamity, whose name 
Is literally ‘ angui c h boding.” She was the mother, by 


Loki, of the Fenris wolf, the Midgard serpcntmrwT 
and by Gymir, of Gerda. ’ 

Angus Og or Oc Literally, Angus, the Young ] n m 
Irish mythology one of the Tuatha De Danann sot 1 
Dagda and Bdann, queen of the side (die divine race!! 
Ireland) and father of Macha, ancestress of the r . 
Branch. He is regarded as the god of love and bcann 
special deity of youths and maidens, and is someth/’ 
referred to as the Irish Adonis. He was accompanied h 
four bright birds flying over his head, and seems to ha/ 
traveled with the pure, cold wind. He was also caly 
Angus of the Brug because he lived with his mother 
in the Brug na B6inne, the famous city of the side 
on the River Boyne. 

Angus Og mid Cacr A story in the Ulster cycle of Old 
Irish legend: one of the most famous swan-maiden 
stories in the world. Angus Og fell in love with a youm 
girl who came to him every night for a year in hi“ 
dreams, but whose name he never succeeded in asVin* 
After her disappearance from the dreams, and a fmitfe 
year's search, Bodb Derg discovered that she was Caer 
daughter of Ethal Anbual, one of the side of Connacht! 
With the help of Ailill, king of Connacht, Ethal Anbual 
was brought before them. He disclosed that Caer wa 
under a spell and lived year and year about in the shape 
of swan and maiden alternately. Angus sought Caer in 
her swan-shape on the lake and was transformed into a 
swan beside her. The two of them flew, singing un- 
earthly music as they flew, to Angus’s home in the 
Brug na Bdinne. 

Anguta Literally, his father: the supreme being of 
the Central Eskimo, father of Scdna. He created the 
earth, the sea, and the heavenly bodies. He lives in 
Adlivun with his daughter, each occupying one side of 
the big house where no deerskins are, and where the big 
dog guards the door. He is the one who carries the dead 
to Adlivun, where the big dog moves aside just enough 
to let him through with the hapless soul. Here the souls 
must abide for a year and sleep side by side with Anguta, 
who pinches them. 

Anlianga A forest spirit or demon of the modem In- 
dians and caboclos of the Amazonian basin: formerly a 
bush spirit of the Tupi tribes of eastern Brazil. Herns 
regarded as a mischievous being who played tricks on 
travelers and hunters, [am] 

Anhcr or Anhouri A sun and sky god of anrient 
Egypt, "he who leads heaven.” He was the god of several 
places, Thinis in Upper Egypt particularly claiming to 
possess his mummy. He appears in human form, carry- 
ing a scepter. As a sun god he became identified with 
Shu, son of Ra. See Anhur. 

Arthur, An-lioret, Anhert, or Onouris A war god and 
god of the dead, local deity of Abydos in Egypt, some- 
times shown as a man standing with spear poised. In 
the period of Greek influence, he became identified with 
Ares. He is probably identical with Anher. 

animal as earth-anchor In the mythology of the 
Huchnom Indians of California, after the Creator, 
Taikomol. had made two unsuccessful attempts at crea- 
tion, he at last was able to achieve a fairly stable earth 
stretching from the north to the east. But the world still 
swayed, and Taikomol sent a coyote, an elk, and a deer 



to the northern end to steady it. That did not quite do it, 
for the animals too floated about. Finally Taikomol had 
them lie down and the cartli thenceforth was still, ex- 
cept for the earthquakes which still occur when the 
animals stir. 

animal children Children in the form of animals, 
either real animals, transformed human beings, or 
masquerading gods, born to human mothers: a concept 
found in the folklore, folktales, and mythology of many 
peoples all over the world. Often the animal children 
result from a beast marriage; the ideas arc intimately 
connected. Rut the principal significance of the animal 
children theme is rather in the direction of etiology and 
totemism. Among the etiological stories is one of the 
Dyaks and Silakans in which a boy and a cobra are 
twins. The cobra goes off into the forest, advising the 
mother that if ever any of her children is bitten by a 
cobra, he must remain in the same place for twenty-four 
hours. Later the twin meets the cobra in the jungle and 
cuts oil his tail, so all cobras since then have had blunted 
tails. There is a Belgian story of the origin of the first 
lizards, which says they arc the offspring of a vain girl's 
intercourse with the devil. The Formosans account for 
the origin of crabs and fish as the result of a brother- 
sister marriage. These latter arc, in addition to being 
etiological, part of the generally held belief that illegal 
intercourse can result only in the birth of monsters, etc. 
(Twins, for example, are in several cultures unmistak- 
able evidence of adultery.) Such concepts as these reflect 
some of the feeling of horror or awe attendant on the 
birth of tcratisms, twins, and the like. In the typical 
totcmic legends, twins arc bom, one the ancestor of the 
tribe, clan, or group, the other the totcmic animal. Thus, 
the Dogrib Indians tell of a woman who bore six 
puppies, three remaining dogs, three changing into the 
human ancestors of the tribe. Sometimes the child is an 
animal when bom, and is transformed into the ancestor 
later. The tale, in Herodotus, of the lion born to one of 
Melcs’s concubines is illustrative. Mclcs was one of the 
Heraclid kings of Lydia, and Hercules, his ancestor, has 
been identified as a development of the lion god, often 
being pictured as wearing a lion-skin. Among the famous 
animal children of mythology arc the Minotaur, bom 
of Tasiphac’s lust for the sacred bull sent by Poseidon; 
theFenriswolf and the Midgard-Serpent, bom to Angur- 
boda and Loki; and the Celtic seal or fish twins, such 
as the trout bom to Mugain before she gave birth to 
Acd Slanc. Compare Amxr. 

animal curcrs The animal or beast gods of Tucblo 
Indian religion; certain animals believed to possess 
great powers for curing disease. The prey animals espe- 
cially are thus regarded. They arc patrons of tire curing 
societies and arc impersonated by the shamans in the 
curing rituals. Among the Kcrcs, for instance, bear, 
badger, mountain lion, wolf, eagle, shrew arc all curing 
animals; but Bear is the most powerful doctor. Bear 
and Mountain Lion predominate ritually among the 
Hopi. At Zufii Bear and Badger arc both prominent. 
Weasel, rattlesnake, and gopher also occur. All the cur- 
ing societies function through the animals they imper- 
sonate. Chiefs of the Zufii curing societies have animal 
names: White Bear, Wildcat, Mountain Lion, etc. Dur- 
ing a curing ceremony a thread from a blanket or shawl 
and a small portion of the prayer-meal offered to the 

shaman arc placed in a com husk together and regarded 
as food and clothing for the animal being invoked. 

That animals can both cause and cure disease, espe- 
cially illnesses caused by fear, is common Zufii belief. 
A Woman in childbirth will wear a badger’s paw - , or 
place one on the bed, because badgers can dig them- 
selves out quickly. Hopi women regard the fat, meat, or 
skin of the weasel as powerful delivery medicines. The 
Zufii also believe that one can make a lifelong friend of 
an animal by giving it a compulsive gift, i.e. the receipt 
of the gift compels the animal to reciprocate with friend- 
ship or guardianship. In return, for instance, the animal 
will cure the donor’s sores. See animal guardians; 
Badgcr medicine; Bear medicine; beast gods. 

animal guardians Certain prey animals regarded as 
guardians and protectors: a general I’ucblo Indian con- 
cept. Figurines of animals arc carried as guides and 
protectors in the hunt. Zufii hunters “feed" their lion 
figurines just before undertaking a deer hunt; and the 
little lion image which the individual hunter carries 
with him is buried in the deer’s heart, as reward for 
the hunter’s success, or is dipped into the blood. Details 
of practice vary among the pueblos. Animal si one images 
are found on almost all pueblo altars. The family group 
also usually houses at least one such image as guardian 
(at Laguna, Hopi, Acoma, and San Juan). Among the 
Hopi, a traveler carries with hint a small animal image 
and sleeps with it in his pillow so that it may warn him 
of danger in his dreams. Pueblo doctors also give their 
patients animal images to protect them against disease- 
sending witches, and arc apt to leave one with a sick 
man to watch over him. See animal curi-rs; beast gods. 

animal languages The languages spoken by animals 
among themselves: a recurrent motif (11210-217.5) of 
the folklore and mythology of Europe and Asia and 
thence in much of the rest of the world, in which the 
gift of understanding these languages is obtained by a 
human being who thereupon is able to use it to ad- 
vantage. Underlying the almost universal use of the 
theme is the same primitive contepi nasic to augury: 
that animals in many ways arc wiser than men. The 
ancient Arabs, for example, believed that eating the 
heart or liver of a serpent gave the power to read omens 
from birds. 

Among their other accomplishments, animals, espe- 
cially birds, have unlimited opportunities for discover- 
ing secrets simply by being unobserved at important 
meetings and by being able to travel to places inacces- 
sible to men. The fortunate man who possesses the 
power of understanding their speech, whether that 
faculty is acquired as a gift from a god or a grateful 
animal, by magical means, or by his being bom with the 
gift, has opened to him therefore a storehouse of knowl- 
edge not available to other men, and lie is able to do 
extraordinary things. 

By far the most common way of acquiring the gift is 
through a serpent or a dragon, perhaps stemming from 
the belief that the snake is intermediate between the 
birds and the beasts. A well-known story of the folktale 
tradition of Asia and Europe, told specifically of 
Mclampus in Greek legend, attributes the knowledge 
of the language of the birds to the licking of his cars 
by snakes. Siegfried or Sigurd, tasting the dragon’s blood, 
understands the language of the birds at once. In other 



tured by she-goats. That the idea has not completely 
disappeared today is apparent from the occasional 
Antelope-Boy or Wolf-Girl receiving publicity in the 
press, or from such as Mowgli or Tarzan in contempo- 
rary fiction. 

animal paramour The animal lover of a woman or 
a man: a motif (B 610-613.2) used from earliest times 
in the folklore and mythology of many peoples in every 
part of the world. While the idea is somewhat similar in 
theme to the beast marriage, in stories of animal para- 
mours the transformation theme is not so prominent, or 
so essential to the sense of the story. Beast marriage tales 
as a rule are of the marchen type, and depend for their 
principal effect on the happy ending. Animal paramour 
stories on the other hand are as often as not etiological 
or moralistic. The beast husband or wife often turns 
out to be a prince or a princess; the animal lover usually 
is slain and the human paramour is punished, although 
in various totemistic or etiological stories these events 
may not occur. In the famous aSvamedha, or horse sacri- 
fice, of India, the horse is dead before he copulates with 
the queen; and in a Lipan Apache story, the dog is killed 
by the woman's husband, and the woman is scratched to 
death by the puppies with which she is pregnant. Among 
the many animal paramours are birds, dogs, bears, 
horses, bulls, fishes, crocodiles, and snakes. Perhaps the 
most famous animal paramour is Europa's, Zeus in the 
form of a bull. A scurrilous tale still alive says that 
Catherine the Great of Russia kept a specially trained 
stallion in her stables to satisfy her abnormal sexual 
appetite. Medical records attest to actual and perhaps 
frequent cases of bestiality, but the popular tales of 
women and greyhounds or wolfhounds, and of pet cats 
and lapdogs, if taken at their frankly exaggerated face 
value, may be classed as animal paramour stories. 

animals The dramatis personae of folklore and folk- 
tale to such tremendous extent that almost sine qua non. 
From the moment man was aware of himself on the face 
of the earth he recognized his kinship with the animals 
and called them brothers. Only the so-called "higher" 
civilizations relegate them to separateness. To early 
man the animals were different only in shape, not in 
nature. He witnessed their acuteness and wisdom, in 
many cases also their superior strength and cunning. He 
sought to learn in their school; he mimed them in his 
dances; he admired, loved, feared, and ‘worshipped them, 
both dead and alive. 

To the primitive mind a living animal is open to 
argument and persuasion, a dead one’s spirit to propi- 
tiation and appeal. Hand in hand with cognizance of the 
transience of all physical form goes belief in transforma- 
tion, the separable soul, and reincarnation. 

Thus throughout the folk belief and religions of the 
world, animals figure as reincarnated ancestors, creators 
or as aids to a creator, scouts, messengers, and earth- 
divers (in deluge stories), as guides of souls to after- 
worlds, messengers of gods, and as gods themselves and 
hence recipients of worship and objects of cults. They 
figure as supporters of the world and causers of earth- 
quakes, as swallowers of suns and moons and thus causers 
of eclipses, as witches’ and magicians' familiars and 
household familiars, weather prophets and weather- 
makers, as life tokens and doubles, and as such, habitats 
of individual separable souls. There are friendly and 

helpful and grateful animals, animal guides (both in- 
dividual and tribal), animal tricksters, animal culture 
heroes, tutelary animals, and animal field spirits. The 
animal or beast marriage, a commonplace of all folk- 
lores, gives us innumerable animal husbands, animal 
wives, animal lovers, animal children, and animal 
nurses. Animal ancestors are prominent in etiological 
and totemic myths. 

There are animal kings and chiefs, kingdoms, and 
armies, and animal languages which human beings are 
sometimes allowed to learn. Animals as baby-bringers 
include not only the well-known and traditional stork, 
but the equally well-known and traditional (Malay) 
lizard who brings the baby and also causes its soul to 
enter into it. 

Many a folktale begins with the statement that “these 
things happened” long ago when animals could speak 
like men. But contemporary primitive folk belief does 
not relegate speaking animals to the past. That animals 
can (and do) speak is a living and unquestioned fact 
among North and South American Indians, Australian 
aborigines, among various African peoples, and in other 
contemporary primitive societies. Agricultural folk in 
Europe and America still believe that on Christmas Eve 
the animals speak together in the bam, only no man 
dare listen. 

animal tale A story having animals as its principal 
characters: one of the oldest forms, perhaps the oldest, 
of the folktale, and found everywhere on the globe at all 
levels of culture. Excluding the animal myth as being 
essentially religious, three classes of the animal folktale 
type should be distinguished: the etiological tale, the 
fable, and the beast epic. The animal tales current in 
western folklore stem from such sources as the literary 
fables of India, the Jataka, the medieval and Renais- 
sance embroiderings of collections like /Esop’s Fables 
and the Reynard cycle, and the oral tradition of north- 
ern Europe (especially of the countries of the Baltic and 

At its simplest, the animal tale is an attempt to ex- 
plain the form and habits of the several animals, a 
fruitful source of material for the primitive story- 
teller. These stories underlie the mythologies of various 
peoples, as is evidenced by the animal attributes of many 
gods in their pantheons. In various instances, as with 
the Great Hare of the eastern Nonh American Indians 
and the animal-headed gods of Egypt with their dual 
animals, it is comparatively easy to reconstruct an etio- 
logical animal story antedating the stated myth. In other 
cases, like the wolf attributes of Zeus and Apollo or the 
lion story behind the Hercules legend, the process may 
be more difficult. Other etiological tales, like the one 
telling how the bear lost his tail, have become attached 
to one or another of the beast epics. One curious ex- 
planatory motif is that of the exchange of parts, found 
in most parts of the world, telling of the trading or 
lending of eyes, fur, or the like, among animals, and 
purporting to explain such natural phenomena as the 
lack of eyes of the blindworm (he loaned his single eye 
to the nightingale who added it to hers and kept it). 

The line between the literary and the folk fable is not 
easy to determine, since tales from collections like that 
attributed to zEsop have had wide popular circulation 
and have been taken from and gone back into the oral 
traditions of large groups of people. However, the area 



and women with whom he comes in contact. He must 
tread with care, propitiating where necessary, but if 
necessary chastising the object, or destroying it and the 
spirit living in it. 

The complexity of the relationship between animism 
and fetishism, between animism and ancestor worship, 
between animism and the various other forms of ele- 
mentary religious belief, cannot be easily unraveled, and 
leads to what is often confusion in the writings of the 
several students in the matter of religion. Animism, as 
used in this book, indicates a belief in the existence of 
personality in objects. These objects may be in natural 
form, or they may be manufactured forms. 

anito Supernatural beings of Filipino religion: a gen- 
eral term including deities, lesser spirits both benevolent 
and malicious, and the souls of the dead, in fact, any in- 
corporeal being. The meaning and application vary 
from tribe to tribe. The most prevailing concept, how- 
ever, seems to be that the anito are the souls of the dead, 
with the result that ancestor worship is the prevailing 
cult. The Filipino fears the anito, but does not exactly 
worship them; to keep their good will is his chief aim. 
He will pay their debts and make sacrifices to them. 
Sacrifice, as practiced in Luzon and Mindanao, is of the 
most logical kind. If a man would sacrifice a jug of wine 
to his anito he takes the jug of wine to the spirit house, 
repeats his prayer of dedication, allows the jug to stand 
in the place for a certain time, then takes it back home 
for family consumption, leaving the soul of the wine to 
the soul of the ancestor. If a Bagobo man would sacrifice 
his spear, he leaves it in the presence of the anito only 
long enough for the soul of the spear to pass into the 
possession of the anito. He then takes the implement 
back for his own use. The only difference between a 
spear that has been sacrificed and one that has not been 
is that the man may never sell or give away or lose the 
spear whose soul is in the possession of his anito. 

Anjea Among the natives of the Pennefeather region 
in Queensland, Australia, a being who fashions babies 
from mud and places them in the mother’s womb. Anjea 
is also the guardian of souls, which he takes from buried 
afterbirths and preserves in various places until they 
are ready to be used for new persons. While the navel 
cord is being cut by the grandmother, Anjea's various 
retreats are recited. The one mentioned as the cord 
breaks will be the child’s hunting grounds by right, and 
the child is known as being a baby of a pool, rock, etc. 

ankh In Egyptian art and mythology, a tau cross hav- 
ing a looped top; the crux ansata: a keylike emblem 
held in the hand of a god (or of a king) as a symbol of 
generation or the power of life, and sometimes called 
the “key of life." Its origin has been variously conjec- 
tured to be the winged globe, the phallus, the Egyptian 
loin-cloth, the sandals painted on the mummy case, etc. 
The symbol is often depicted as being applied by a god 
to the nostrils of the dead to restore the breath of life. It 
is found from Sardinia to Persia, and in somewhat simi- 
lar form in India and in Central America. 

Ankou In the folklore of Brittany, the last person who 
has died in each parish or district during a year, driver 
of the spectral cart whose coming to a certain house or 
place means death. The Ankou is either a tall, haggard 
figure with long white hair or a skeleton with revolving 
head who sees everybody everywhere. Two other figures 

walk beside the cart, one on each side, to open the gates 
or doors and lift the dead into it. See Celtic folklore. 

Anniebelle A work song of American Negroes, used 
in wood-chopping, spiking steel, loading lumber, and in 
mining: sung in short phrases punctuated by a grunted 
sound as the blow of the work falls. 

anniversary, wedding See wedding anniversary. 

Armwfn or Annwn The Otherworld of Brythonic 
mythology: literally construed either as “abyss,” or as an, 
not, and divfn, the world. It was located either on the 
face of the earth, under the earth, or over or under the 
sea; it was a group of fortified islands out to sea, or a 
great revolving castle surrounded by the sea. It was 
called Land Over Sea, Land Under Wave, etc., or Cacr 
Sid! (revolving castle). It was a land of delight and 
beauty without disease or death. Arawn was its lord or 
king. It shared with other Celtic Elysiums, along with its 
delights, a magic caldron (either inexhaustible or gifted 
with some mysterious power of discrimination such as 
would make it refuse to boil a coward’s food), a well of 
sweet or miraculous water, and various marvelous ani- 
mals gTeatly desiTed by men. 

The old Book of Taliesin locates Annwfn beneath the 
earth and again identifies it as an island fortress which 
Arthur visited in his ship Prydwen. In the Mabinogion 
Annwfn is the next-door kingdom to the kingdom of 
Pwyll; and in Kulhwch and Olwen it could be reached 
via Scotland. 

Anshar or Ansar In Babylonian mythology, the god 
of the upper world, son of Lachmu and Lachamu, con- 
sort of Kishar, and father of Anu, Ea, and Enlil: believed 
by some to be identical with the Assyrian Ashur. In the 
creation story, Anshar commands Anu and Ea to fight 
Tiamat, but both turn in fear; finally, when Marduk 
is sent as the avenger of the gods to fight the mother of 
chaos and slays her, Anshar regains some of his lost 
power. Anshar was the god of the night sky, particularly 
personified as the pole star, which was the peak of the 
mountain of stars, where he danced as a goat, sur- 
rounded by his six assistants of the Dipper. 

An Spailpin Ftinnch Literally, The Itinerant Laborer, 
an Irish folk melody which has been sung to countless 
sets of words, including The Girl I Left Behind Me, a 
vaudeville parody about a golfer’s adventures with “the 
dirty little pill,” a ribald drinking song, and a Vermont 
song Old England Forty Years Ago. 

Antaeus In Greek mythology, a giant living in Libya, 
the son of Poseidon and Ge. As a wrestler he was in- 
vincible as long as he remained in contact with his 
mother, the Earth, and he compelled all strangers to do 
battle on condition that, if conquered, they should be 
put to death. Hercules discovered the source of his 
power and strangled him while holding him off the 
earth. The strength received from the earth motif is also 
found in a Swiss story in which the strength of witches 
depends upon their touching the earth. 

Ant and the Grasshopper (or Cricket ) The title of 
one of /Esop’s fables (Jacobs #36) in which a grasshop- 
per who had sung happily throughout the summer, went 
to the ants in the winter and asked for a little of the 
food which they had put by. “What did you do all sum- 
mer?" they asked her. MTicn she replied that she had 


sung all day long, they told her now she could dance 
for the winter, and turned her away. This fable (Type 
249) is included in a group of motifs embodying the 
idea: in time of plenty provide for want (J71 1-711.3). 
Stith Thompson reports at least three North American 
Indian borrowings of this Asiatic-European story. 

antelope In the Congo, antelope horns and skins are 
used as charms; among the southern U.S. Negroes ante- 
lope horns are a favorite place in which to coniine spirits. 

In the emergence myth of the Lipan Apache Indians, 
the antelope was one of three monsters, enemies of other 
animals and of the ancient people, finally overcome by 
Alligator or (in some versions) by Killer-of-Enemies. 
Among the Hopi Indians, the antelope is a medicine 

In India the wind god, Vayu, is pictured riding on the 
back of an antelope; in China powdered antelope horn 
(Ling-yang-koh) is given as a medicine in puerperal 

Antero Vipunen A primeval giant: wisest of the he- 
roes of the Finns. He lay asleep under the earth, but was 
wakened by Vainanoinen, who came seeking to be taught 
magic words and creative spells, to build his boat. An- 
tero Vipunen immediately swallowed Vainanoinen, who 
proceeded to prod, and hack, and torture the giant from 
within. At last Vipunen sang to Vainanoinen all his an- 
cient wisdom (see Kalevala, song 17). The Christian- 
Catholic influence is obvious in the naming of this hero, 
as the name Antero is derived from St. Andrcus and 
Vipunen means the cross of the same saint (see Harva 
in FVF XXIV, 1937, p. 59-79). [jn] 

Anthesteria A three days’ festival in honor of Di- 
onysus held annually at Athens from the 1 1 th to the 13th 
of the month of Anthesterion (February-March). Its ob- 
ject was to celebrate the maturing of the wine stored at 
the previous vintage and the beginning of spring. The 
first two days, the Pithoigia (opening of the casks) and 
Choes (feast of beakers), were considered as ill-omened 
and required expiatory libations; on those days the souls 
of the dead walked abroad. On the third day, called 
Chutroi (feast of pots), a festival of the dead was held. 

ant-hill A mound of earth and humus heaped up, 
grain by grain, by ants while constructing their under- 
ground habitat: associated with the idea of fertility and 
sometimes prominent in snake-worship. In the myths of 
the Korkus of central India, Mahadeo (Siva) fashioned 
two images in the likeness of man and woman from the 
red earth of an ant-hill; the Dhangars of the same re- 
gion believe the first sheep and goats came out of an 
ant-hill, and to stop their destruction of the crops, Siva 
created the Dhangars. The Susus of West Africa con- 
sider ants’ nests the residence of demons. The aboriginal 
object of worship at Tiruvothyur and Melkote, Mysore, 
"'as an ant-hill, the abode of the cobra or naga-snake. 
The Alur tribe of the upper Nile buries men in ant- 
hills as regular treatment for insanity, and in South 
Africa the bodies of children are placed in ant-hills ex- 
cavated by ant-eaters. 

anthropological school Largely as a reaction against 
the mythological school, which sought to explain folk- 
tales as a detritus of Indo-Eun .rw.'u myth, the anthro- 
pological school saw in the folktale the fossil remains of 


the cultures of the remote past. Folktales, they thou h 
are best explained in terms of the practices of primit' ' 
societies, since often the folktale preserves customs " c 
uals, beliefs that have long been discarded. The rue 111 
bers of the anthropological school— Lang, McCtill T 
Gomme, von der Leyen in folklore, and Tyler a C 
Frazer in general culture— saw proof of this in the f 
that the folktales of medieval Europe have close anaW 
in the folktales of the savages. Andrew Lang, perh/’ 
the most persuasive member of this school, saw th e 
eral pattern of development as follows: (1) The oriJ n j 
tale, made up of several motifs and originating amon 
‘‘savages’’ evolves into (2) The popular tale of peasant^ 
which in turn can develop into either (or both) (3) The 
tale of the semi-realistic hero (e.g. Perseus), or (4) The 
literary version, such as that of Andersen or Pcrrault 
While recognizing the fact that tales are frequently 
diffused from people to people, this school was inclined 
to explain general resemblances among folktales and cs . 
pecially among folktale motifs by polygenesis. They felt 
that all men pass through the same stages of develop- 
ment and that consequently they embody the details of 
their development in essentially the same stories. This 
group was consequently primarily interested in tracing 
every element and detail of story and culture bad to 
sources in primitive life. And in this lies the weaknesses 
the school, in failing to recognize differences in cultures 
and people, cross-influences, inventiveness— in short, in 
failing to recognize that each tale should be studied as 
an individual product and studied by the same methods 
that are used to study a story of conscious art. See 

anthropomancy Divination using the entrails of hu- 
man sacrifices: one of the most ancient and perhaps still 
widespread means of divining. Most often the victim is a 
child or a virgin because of the implied purity, but one 
of the common types in ancient times was the sacrifice of 
prisoners to foretell the outcome of an imminent battle. 
The practice has existed only where human sacrifice has 
been common. 

anthropomorphism The ascription of human form or 
qualities to divine beings, particularly to the gods; the 
ascription of human characteristics to the powers of na- 
ture or to a natural object, animate or inanimate, but 
especially to animals. The development of the concept 
of a god often follows a set pattern. The god is thought 
first to be an animal (theriomorphic state) as Zeus was an 
eagle, Artemis a deer, etc. Then man begins to endow 
the god with his physical attributes, so Zeus assumes the 
physical nature of man (physical anthropomorphic 
stage). Man also creates lower animals in his image when 
he endows animals with his attributes and form. Stories 
abound of animals who marry human beings, live in 
houses, eat human food, talk, shoot arrows, and exhibit 
in general the mental and moral traits of man. An- 
thropomorphism is also applied to the plant world, as 
the spirit of a tree becomes, by the process of anthropo- 
morphism, a god, or a supernatural being endowed with 
human characteristics. Osiris, for example, was origi- 
nally an immanent tree spirit. Man viewed the world 
through himself and consequently not only endowed the 
tangible with his qualities but built up the intangible in 
his own form and endowed it with his inner nature. 



Goethe says it succinctly: "Man never knows liow an- 
thromorphic lie is." 

Thus everywhere since the beginning ol religious con- 
cept, man has projected liimsclt into his gods. Even the 
animal gods per sc possessed human reason, and pur- 
pose, and eventually acquired the ability to transform 
themselves into men temporarily. The animal-headed 
gods of Egypt are projections of this dual concept. The 
Greek gods in human form who walked and talked on 
earth typify the inevitable anthropomorphic trend. 
Xenophanes wrote, in the Gth century B.C., "The gods 
of the Ethiopians arc swarthy and flat-nosed; the gods 
of the Thracians arc fair-haired and blue-eyed." Prayer 
thus becomes basically a request, as of man to man; sac- 
rifice partakes of the nature of a bargain (do ut dcs, I 
give that you may give), or a gift. The names of the 
gods everywhere minor the man-concept: Father, King 
of Kings, Lord of Hosts, Above Old Man, Sky Woman, 
Our Grandmother, etc. Even the concept of an imma- 
terial god, bodiless, completely spiritual, is conceived in 
terms of the human soul, [mel] 

Antichrist An opponent or enemy of Christ, origi- 
nally probably the incarnate devil: the archetypal op- 
ponent of Christ, expected by early Christians to appear 
before the end of the world and the second coming of 
Christ (I John ii, 18, 22: II John vii). In the Old Testa- 
ment this concept is variously worded as the man of sin 
(II Thess. ii, 3), Belial (II Cor. vi, 15), and the beast 
(Dan. vii): the antimessiah of Jewish eschatology. It is 
believed that the idea of Antichrist had its origin in the 
Babylonian chaos myths in which Tiamat rebelled 
against and was defeated by Marduk. Thus the opponent 
of God often appeared in the form of a terrible dragon. 
The Antichrist of Daniel was a mighty ruler, the leader 
of huge armies, who would destroy three kings, perse- 
cute the saints, rule three and a half years, and devastate 
the temple of God. In Moslem literature the false mes- 
siah (masihu 'd-dajjal) was to overrun the earth mounted 
on an ass, and rule 40 days, leaving only Mecca and Me- 
dina safe. 

The historical figure first attributed to Antichrist was 
the Syrian king Anliochus IV Epiphancs, the persecutor 
of the Jews. Gradually, the bitter feeling against Rome, 
that actuated the Jews from 30 to 130 A.D., permitted 
no other conception than that Rome’s ruler would 
marshal the heathens for the final struggle. Nero filled 
the ideal of wickedness sufficiently to be considered a 
worthy Antichrist. This belief spread among the Chris- 
tians as they suffered from the Roman power and grad- 
ually the figure of Antichrist became a type of God- 
opposing tyrant incarnate now in one and then another 
historical character. 

By the 12th century people saw Antichrist in every na- 
tional, political, social, or ecclesiastical opponent; the 
name sounded on all sides in the struggle between Em- 
peror and Pope, between heretics and the church. Even 
the view that the Pope of Rome was the Antichrist, or 
his forerunner, was cultivated by the Franciscans, who 
held to the ideal of poverty, and by Martin Luther. As 
events in the history of the Middle Ages seemed to indi- 
cate the approach of Antichrist, myths concerning him 
became widespread. Some believed him a devil in a 
phantom body, others an incarnate demon, others a des- 
perately wicked man acting upon diabolic inspiration. 
Myths, recorded by Rabanus Maurus, state that the 

Man-fiend would heal the sick, raise the dead, restore 
sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the 
dumb; he would raise storms and calm them, remove 
mountains and make trees flourish or wither at a word 
in an attempt to pervert and mislead men. 

Rumors of the birth of Antichrist circulated so rapidly 
and caused so much agitation that Henry IV of France 
issued an edict in 1599 forbidding the mention of the 
subject. A witch under torture in 1G00 acknowledged 
that she had rocked the infant Antichrist on her knees 
and that he had claws on his feet and spoke all lan- 
guages. In an announcement of the birth of Antichrist 
in 1G23 purporting to come from the brothers of the 
Order of St. John, he is described as a dusky child with 
", . , pleasant mouth and eyes, teeth pointed like those 
of a cat, ears large . . . the said child, incontinent on his 
birth, walked and talked perfectly well." 

Legends of Antichrist reached their height during the 
Middle Ages and then gradually died out. During World 
War II Hiller was sometimes referred to as the Anti- 
christ. [sen] 

ants Small social insects found from the arctics to the 
tropics, in cities, deserts, fields, forests, beaches, and 
mountains. Because of their numbers and distribution, 
they play an important part in folklore and social eth- 
nology. The Hebrews considered ants wise ( Prov . xxx, 
21-8): among Hindus black ants are sacred; in Bulgaria 
and Switzerland they arc a bad omen, in Estonia a good 
omen; in France bad luck follows the destruction of an 
ant’s nest. The Pueblo Indians of North America be- 
lieve ants are vindictive and cause diseases; disturbing 
or urinating on an ant-hill will especially anger them. 
And the diseases caused by ants can be cured only by an 
Ant Doctor or Ant Society. The Zuni believe that ants 
arc helpful war insects because their activities obliterate 
tracks, and therefore the Ant Society has a ritual func- 
tion in Zuni war dances. The Hopi Indians believe the 
first people were ants; the Apaches call the Navahos the 
ant people, and Taos women arc told that they will turn 
into red ants if they consort with white men. In a myth 
of the Kariri Indians (Chaco) the red ants cut the tree 
by which the first people climbed to the sky. 

Ants play a part in the religious beliefs of people scat- 
tered over the globe. In Dahomey and Porto Novo, West 
Africa, ants arc considered messengers of the serpent 
god, New Guinea natives believe that a second death 
after the first is possible, in which ease the soul becomes 
an ant. (See Arrr.uwouur.) The Aruntas of Australia be- 
lieve that the bile of a bulldog ant will kill the power 
of a medicine man. The Hindus and Jains give food to 
ants on days associated with the souls of the blessed 
dead- The Aztecs believed that the black and red ants 
showed Quctzalcoatl the place of maize. The Shans be- 
lieve the earth was brought from the depths by a species 
of white ant. 

In China the ant is a symbol of patriotism and virtue 
as well as of self-interest. In American folklore ants 
know when it will rain and if there arc many ants in 
summer there will be a cold winter; to dream of ants 
means prosperity. In Morocco patients arc fed ants to 
overcome lethargy'. A tea made from white ants is ad- 
ministered by some American Negroes to prevent whoop- 
ing cough. Guiana Indians use ants as counter-irritants. 

The sting of ants is explained in a Tagalog story in 
which the ant, hearing that the snake had received a 

gift of poison from God, obtained the same power and 
then scurried back to earth so quickly that Ins speed en- 
nmcd God. So he was deprived of part of his power lest 
he° use it unreasonably. Among the Apalai (South Amer- 
ica) the painful bite of black ants is used to drive away 
the demons brought into the village by strangers. Gills 
of tile Guiana Indians are stung by ants at puberty to 
make them strong to bear the burden of maternity or as 
purification. The Mauhcs of Brazil force the boys to 
thrust their arms into sleeves stuffed with ferocious ants 
again and again until they are able to endure the pain 
without a sign of emotion. When he has reached that 
point of endurance, a Mauhe boy is considered a man 
and can marry. 

In Jewish and Mohammedan legend, the ants taught 
Solomon modesty and humility. In a German story ants 
carried silk threads to a prisoner who made a rope from 
them and escaped. In a Chinese transformation story a 
monkey was changed into an ant. 

Anu or Ana In Babylonian mythology, the sky god, 
chief god of the great triad of Anu, Enlil, and Ea: city 
god of Uruk (Erech), creator of star spirits and the de- 
mons of cold, rain, and darkness. Ann was enthroned in 
heaven on the northern pole. He is the fount of the au- 
thority of the gods, the ruler of destiny, and with Bel 
one of the two great Mesopotamian gods. Compare An; 
Semitic mythology. 

Anubis or Anpu In Egyptian religion, the jackal- 
headed or jackal god, guardian of tombs and patron of 
embalming, who shared with Thotli the office of con- 
ductor of the dead. In the judgment hall of Amenti he 
weighed the hearts of the dead against the feather of 
truth and right. In the early Pyramid age Anubis was 
the god of the underworld, but was replaced in the fifth 
dynasty by Osiris, becoming, with his brother Apuat, 
"sons” and attendants. Anubis was identified by the 
Greeks with Hermes. In Egyptian mythology, Anubis is 
the son of Nephthys or Isis and Osiris. He embalmed 
the body of Osiris (in one myth he swallowed his father) 
until Isis resuscitated it. 

Anunnaki or Ennuki (1) In Sumerian mythology, the 
children and followers of An: the dreaded judges of 
the netherworld. 

(2) In Babylonian mythology, deities of the earth 
(underworld): the star gods who had sunk below the 
horizon and who pronounced judgment on men as they 
entered the underworld, determining the conditions of 
their sojourn there. Compare Igigi. 

ao In Polynesian mythology, the period of light in 
which man has existed, as contrasted with pa, the dark 
time of the spirit world. Ao is also the personification 
of the daylight and of the world, i.e. the world of the 
living. The long Kumulipo genealogy of Hawaii is 
divided into two sections, the second of which deals with 
ao, with the coming of light, the creation of man, and the 
generations of men. Compare atua. 

apaclicta A cairn: found generally in the high passes 
of the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes. Native travelers 
add a stone to the heap, or offer as a sacrifice an eyelash, 
the coca which they chew, or an old sandal. This ob- 
servance is supposed to relieve the traveler of his fatigue 
and to insure the success of his journey, [am! 

Apakura The heroine of a legend of the M a 
Samoa, and New Zealand. Apakura (Apekua in 
qtiesas version that follows) is one of two child' • 
human form of a chief. Her son is slain when h"* 
for his bride, the daughter of Hatea-motua, a i t r 
he gives signs of who he is and the chief’s priest 
against killing him. Seeking for revenge, Apakura^'' 
lists the aid of one of her brothers, who tries t„ k 

atl >. which 

a canoe but is balked by the tree Aniani-te-: 

refuses to be felled. The assistance of a lone-a o 
brother is obtained; he tells where to get the ache 
fell the tree, and snatches people, to be sacrificed auf 
dedication of the boat, from the house of Hatea-mot ' 
Then the champions of Apakura slay the defenders' 11 ! 
Hatea-motua, a vine that drags canoes down, seaweed 
that traps them, and an octopus that eats them. Hai Q 
motua is killed and Apakura has her revenge The 
details of the story vary to some degree through the 
islands but in outline it is essentially the same story ol 
revenge for lost child. 

Apalala In Buddhist legend, a water dragon or ser- 
pent who lived at the source of the Swat River His 
conversion by Buddha is often depicted in Buddhist art 

Apauk-kyit Lok In Kachin (Burma) mythology, a n 
old man who was the cause of death. He lived at the 
time all men were immortal. Nine times he grew old and 
lost his teeth, but each time he was mysteriously re- 
juvenated. One day he found a sekhai (squirrel?) sleep- 
ing. He covered it with clothes and placed it in a basket 
then went and hid. Rumor spread that the old man was 
dead. When the Lord of the Sun heard, he examined 
the man’s sumri (life essence) and found it unchanged. 
So he sent messengers to investigate the situation. They, 
while dancing at the funeral feast, covered their feet 
with honey and touched the clothes, thus drawing them 
away so that the fraud was discovered. The Lord of the 
Sun was so angry that he cut off Apauk-kyit Lok’s life 
connection. Thus death entered the world. 

Apepi, Aapep, or Apophis In Egyptian mythology and 
religion, the foe of the sun god: leader of the demons 
against the sun by whom they were overcome, and hence 
a symbol of storm and the struggle between light and 
darkness. He was represented as a crocodile with a 
hideous face, as a serpent with many coils, or a snake 
with a human head. The sun (Horus or Ra or Osiris) 
fought Apepi and his demons throughout the night in 
his journey from west to east, winning the battle every 

Aphrodite In Greek religion, the goddess of love, 
beauty, and marriage; an influence on the fertility oi 
plants and animals; the epitome of feminine charm: 
sometimes the protectress of sailors: in Sparta a war 
goddess. Originally she may have been an oriental nature 
divinity similar to Ishtar. Under the title Aphrodite 
Urania, she was identified by the Greeks with the 
Semitic goddess of the heavens, Astarte, and with the 
Persian goddess Anahita. In later Greek literature, influ- 
enced by Plato, she became the embodiment of spiritual 
love, the antithesis of the Athenian Aphrodite l’andemos 
(personification of earthly or common love). Her cult, 
in one form or another, was universal in the Mediter- 
ranean lands and Aphrodisia (festivals in her honor) 
were frequent. In Greco-Roman Egypt she was identi- 



fied with and partially supplanted Hathor. The Romans 
identified her with Venus. 

In Greek mythology she teas pictured variously as 
the lover of Adonis, the mother of /Eneas, the wife of 
Hephaestus, and the lover or consort of Ares. According 
to Homer she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. 
According to Hesiod she arose from the foam of the sea 
and landed either at Cythera or at Paphos in Cyprus, 
hence she was sometimes called Cypris, Cytherea, or 
Aphrodite Anadyomene. 

Apis or Hap In Egyptian religion, a sacred bull wor- 
shipped from the IV Dynasty to the time of the Emperor 
Julian. See Hap. 

apo A ceremony or rite of the Ashanti of the Gold 
Coast, West Africa. It is directed towards chiefs and 
rulers in the belief that those who wield power over 
others need protection against the resentment of those 
whom they may have injured. The performance con- 
sists of the voicing of all kinds of derision, reproach, and 
maledictions on the part of the subjects against their 
chiefs. This is believed to save the souls of the chiefs 
from the harm which would inevitably result from the 
ill-will or anger of their subjects. The Ashanti believe 
that the cumulative power of repressed resentment or 
anger will harm, even kill, the object of it, and that the 
ritual expression of it not only protects but saves all 
concerned. (Herskovits, Man and His Works, 59) 

apocalypse In Jewish and Christian literature, a 
revelation of hidden things given by God to one of his 
chosen saints, or the written account of such a revelation. 
Characteristic features of apocalyptic literature include 
revelation of the mysteries and secrets of heaven, ex- 
planations of natural phenomena, predictions of im- 
pending events, and a picture of heaven and hell. These 
are often disclosed through a vision or dream, or brought 
by angels, and embellished with mythological material 
borrowed from both Jewish early eschatology (Old 
Testament mythical beings such as Leviathan, Behe- 
moth, Gog and Magog) and the Hindu and Egyptian 
cosmogonies. Another characteristic of apocalyptic writ- 
ings is the marked use of the elements of mystery and 
fantastic imagery— especially the beasts in which the 
properties of men, birds, reptiles, mammals, or purely 
imaginary beings are combined in startling and often 
grotesque manner (Dan. vii, 1-8; viii, 3-12). 

Apocatequil The culture hero in the mythology of 
the region of Huamachuco: father of the twin heroes 
hatched from eggs. See Twins, [am] 

Apollo One of the most important of the Greek 
Olympian gods, representing the most complex creation 
of polytheism; the god of youth and manly beauty, of 
poetry, music, and the wisdom of the oracles. In his 
earlier character (he is believed to have been introduced 
variously from the north, from Asia Minor, and from 
Egypt), he teas the fosterer of flocks, guardian of 
colonies, villages, and streets. He teas also the sovereign 
god of healing and ceremonial purification in association 
with Asklepios, who performed the actual healing func- 
tions. To Homer he teas the sender as well as the stayer 
of plagues and the giver of sudden death. As Apollo 
Smintheus, or mouse god, he was either the protector or 
destroyer of mice (an image of a mouse stood beside the 
tripod in his temple in the Troad and white mice lived 

under the altar). As Phcebus (Phoebus Apollo) he was god 
of radiance and light, later identified with Helios. 

Numerous festivals to Apollo played a major role in 
Greek life. The most important were the Delphinia, 
held in May to celebrate the opening of navigation and 
the influence of the sun in restoring life and warmth 
to the creatures of the waves, especially the dolphins 
which were highly esteemed by seafarers; the Thargelia, 
held in May to propitiate the deity of the sun, to cele- 
brate the ripening of vegetation, and to return thanks 
for the first-fruit; the Hyacinthia, celebrated in July in 
Sparta as a fast and feast corresponding to the Thargelia; 
the Carnea, held in August in Sparta to propitiate the 
god and as thanksgiving for the vintage; the Daphne- 
phora, held in the spring to celebrate the day of Apollo’s 
coming and believed to have symbolized the year; the 
Pythia, celebrated every fourth summer to commemo- 
rate his victory over the Python. 

The oracles of Apollo, particularly that of Delphi, 
were widely consulted, especially during the Pelopon- 
nesian War when the craze for knowledge of the future 
exceeded even that evidenced during modem wars. The 
universal recognition of the Apollo cult and the oracle 
of Apollo increased the importance of the Delphian 
amphictyony politically. 

In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Zeus and 
Leto; twin of Artemis; lover of Psamathe of Argos, 
Coronis of Thessaly, Clymcne, Calliope, and Cyrene; 
spumed by Daphne and Marpessa; wooed unsuccess- 
fully by the nymph Clytie; and father of Orpheus, 
Asklepios, and Aristatus. Shortly after his birth he spent 
a year in the land of the Hyperboreans, then went to 
Delphi where he slew the Python, sang his song of 
victory, the Prom (still synonymous with jubilation and 
victory), and instituted the Pythian games. He slew 
Tityus and the children of Niobe and, with Artemis, 
overthrew the Aloadic. Phaethon drove Helios’ sun 
chariot on a wild ride across the sky and was killed by 
Zeus. Then Asklepios, his physician-son, restored the dead 
to life, and paid with his own. Apollo, indignant, killed 
the Cyclops who wrought the thunderbolt used by Zeus 
to kill Asklepios, and was sentenced to serve a mortal 
(King Admetus of Thessaly) as a shepherd for a year. 
The birth, wanderings, and battle with the Python are 
sometimes explained as symbolic of the diurnal and 
annual journeys of the sun. See Delphic oracle. 

Apollodorus An Athenian grammarian of the 2nd cen- 
tury B.C. The Library, generally attributed to him, is a 
principal source of knowledge of Greek mythology' and 
is said to be an abridgment of a lost larger work of the 
gods. Frazer, following Robert, in his introduction to 
the Library, doubts that the work is by Apollodorus the 
Grammarian and, from internal evidence, states that the 
work was written in the 1st or 2nd century A.D. 

apotropaism The science and art of preventing or 
overcoming evils, usually by incantation or a ritual act. 
Such rituals and incantations are world-wide. Typical 
are the central European custom of naked women draw- 
ing a plowshare around a village at night to drive away 
an epidemic, and the Japanese custom of ofFeringa white 
horse, pig, and cock during the seed-time ritual to save 
the crops from a curse. 

Apotropaic remedies include human spittle, blood, 
human excrements, strong smells such as that of garlic 
used in southern Europe to combat witches, various 



whether she will restore life. Daniel recovers the fat and 
bones of his son and buries them, while Paghat, Aqhat's 
sister, gets Yatpan drunk and kills him. The portions 
relating to Aqhat’s resurrection, whether by Daniel from 
the recovered fat and bones or by Anatli, have not yet 
been found (if the reconstruction of the myth is correct 
and if they exist). H. L. Ginsberg ( BASOR 97) draws a 
parallel between this story and the Biblical tale of 
Naboth and the vineyard coveted by Jezebel and Ahab 
(I Kings xxi). See Semitic mythology. 

Aquarius The Water-Carrier: the 11th constellation 
or sign of the Zodiac, anciently the location of the win- 
ter solstice. Astrologers equate Aquarius with cold, rain- 
storms, floods, and dark. 

The ancient Egyptians equated this constellation with 
Khnum, god of water and creator of men, beneficent 
bringer of water to their arid land. They believed the 
Nile overflowed its banks when the Water-Carrier dipped 
his bucket into it. The Arabs too rejoiced with the ris- 
ing of Aquarius who brought the warm rains. The Arabs 
thought of it as the source of all the rivers of the earth; 
but their representations of it show only the bucket, 
or sometimes a mule carrying two water jugs. 

The Babylonians called it Gu, or Overflowing- Water- 
Jar, and associated it with their mythical Deluge and 
their 11th month Shabatu, Curse of Rain. The Ak- 
kadians called it Ku-ur-ku, Scat of Flowing Waters. 
Persians, Hebrews, Syrians, Turks, each had a word for 
it meaning Water-Bucket. 

In Greek mythology, Aquarius was originally identi- 
fied with Jupiter, symbolizing creation and the life- 
giving power of water. Later, it was said to be Gany- 
mede, cup-bearer of the gods. Other Greek myths iden- 
tify it with Deucalion, survivor of the Greek Deluge, 
and with Aristteus, rain-giver to the people of Ceos. 

This constellation was the first sign of the old Chinese 
Zodiac, the Rat, bringer of water. Jesuit influence 
changed it to Paon Ping, Precious Vase; but it is still 
the Rat in Central Asia, Cochin China, and Japan. It is 
also the first sign of the Zodiac in India. 

Aquila The Eagle: a constellation of the northern 
hemisphere, described as flying eastward across the 
Milky Way. It was interpreted as an eagle alike by the 
ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. The Hebrew 
name for it was Ncshr (Eagle, Falcon, or Vulture). The 
Arabs called it A1 ‘Okab, Black Eagle. To the early Turks 
it was Taushaugjil, or Hunting Eagle. Hindu mythol- 
ogy interprets the three bright stars of Aquila as the 
three huge footsteps of Vishnu in his stride across the 
heavens. Altair is the brightest of these three, situated 
exactly opposite Vega across the Milky Way. To the Chi- 
nese the constellation Aquila is thought of as the 
Draught Oxen, belonging to the Herdsman. For the 
Chinese story of the celestial Weaving Maid (Vega) and 
her Herdsman lover (Altair) see Chih Nu. 

Ara (1) or Er In Armenian mythology, the beloved of 
the Semitic Semiramis who proposed to marry him or 
hold him as a lover. Ara rejected her and was killed by 
the forces of the goddess which she led against him. 
IVhen she could not revive him, she dressed up one of 
her lovers and pretended that the gods had restored Ara 
to life. According to Plato Ara was revived when he was 
about to be laid on the funeral pyre. 

(2) A southern constellation; interpreted by Ptolemy 

and others as an Altar, a Censer, a Brazier. By the Ro- 
mans it was variously thought to be the altar of Dionysus, 
an Incense Burner, a little altar on which incense was 
burned for the dead, a Hearth, and also occasionally as 
Vesta, the hearth goddess. In Arabian astronomy it is 
called A1 Mijmarah, the Censer, an adoption from the 
Greeks. Medieval Biblical scholars and astronomers 
thought of it as one of the altars of Moses, or as the altar 
built by Noah after the Flood. 

Arabian Nights’ Entertainments or the Thousand and 
One Nights A collection of stories written in Arabic 
and first introduced into Europe in a French translation 
by Antoine Galland in 1704: literally the Thousand 
Nights and a Night, but generally referred to as Arabian 
Nights. The framework of the story is Persian, but the 
stories told by Sheherazade are believed to be Arabian, 
Indian, Egyptian, and Jewish. They include merry tales, 
fairy tales, rogue stories, stories of buried treasure, etc. 

Arachne In Greek mythology, the most skilful weaver 
of Lydia who challenged Athena to a weaving contest. 
Athena wove into her web the stories of those who had 
aroused the anger of the gods, while Arachne chose 
stories of the errors of the gods. Enraged at the excel- 
lence of the work, Athena tore Arachne’s web to tatters. 
Arachne hanged herself in grief and was transformed by 
Athena into a spider. 

drik In Cambodian belief, one of the good spirits or 
tutelary guardians of families. The firftk lives in a tree 
or in the house, and is invoked especially in cases of ill- 
ness. It seems to be a human ancestor or friend of the 
family, long dead, who has become its protector. IVhen 
someone is ill, a kru (shaman) is called in who is able to 
make the iirik incarnate in himself and with his aid dis- 
covers the evil spirit which is torturing the patient. The 
guilty spirit is then exorcised by the spraying of rice- 
wine over the patient and by gashing him. A festival is 
held each year between January and March in honor of 
the hriiks. 

Aralu or Arallu In Babylonian religion and mythol- 
ogy, the desolate land of no return in the underworld to 
which the soul descended after death. This was sur- 
rounded by seven walls pierced by as many gates and 
Tuled by Ncrgal and Allatu. The souls "like birds with 
wings" lived in darkness amidst dust surrounded by evil 
spirits and demons. There the souls ate dust and clay, 
and unless they were provided with food and drink by 
the living, wandered in search of garbage and discarded 

Aramazd The chief deity of ancient Armenia, who, 
although supreme, was not exclusive: a corruption of 
the Persian Ahura Mazda. Aramazd was the creator of 
heaven and earth, father of gods, especially of Anahit, 
Mihr, and Nane (no consort is named), and the peace- 
loving giver of prosperity and abundance. He presided 
over the Navasard (New Year’s festival) and made the 
fields fertile and the vineyards fruitful. 

Arawn Lord and king of Annwfn, the BrVthonic 
Othcrworld. The Mabinogion tells the story of how 
Arawn one time out hunting in this world met up with 
Pwyll, king of Dyfed, with whom he struck up great 
friendship. They made a compact to exchange shapes 
and kingdoms for a year, in order that Pwyll might 
overcome Havgan, Arawn’s rival for the kingship of 


Annwfn. At the end of that year Pwyll disposed or Hav- 
ean with a single blow. Then Pwyll and Arawn met 
again, exchanged shapes once more, and each returned 
to his own kingdom, no one but the two of them know - 
ing that either had been absent from his own country. 
Pwyll discovered that his kingdom had never been ruled 
with greater wisdom, generosity, and justice than in the 
year just gone by. Arawn discovered that for a year 
Pwyll had shown affection to the beautiful queen of 
Annwfn only in public and had withheld himself front 
her at night. Such faithfulness and honor the two dis- 
covered in each other that they wcic strong friends 

Arawn was owner of the magic caldron that Arthur 
coveted, and all the various marvelous animals ascribed 
to Celtic Otherworlds. Certain marvelous swine are 
mentioned, given by Arawn to Pryderi, son of Pwyll. The 
Triads tell of a wonderful bitch and a white roebuck 
(and in some versions, a lapwing) stolen by Amaethon, 
son of Dim, the theft of which caused the Cattle of the 

arbutus Any member of a genus ( Arbutus ) of ever- 
green trees or shrubs whose bark, leaves, and fruit arc 
used in drugs: a common name for the trailing arbutus 
(Epigera repens), the state (lower of Massachusetts. The 
arbutus was sacred to the Romans and was an attribute 
of the goddess Cardca, who used it to drive away witches 
and to protect little children. Ovid speaks of its fruit as 
the food of man during the Golden Age. Water distilled 
from the leaves and blossoms of at bums was considered 
powerful against the plague and various poisons. The 
Greeks believed that snakes which fed upon the berries 
ceased to be venomous. 

The arbutus of Algonquiau Indian legend is Epiga-a 
repens. Peboan, the winter tnanitou, sat in his lodge, 
weak and weary, for lie had found no game. lie called 
for help and Segun, the summer manitou, clothed in 
grass and young leaves, walked into the lodge with a 
message that l’eboan's time on caith was ended. The old 
man gradually disappeared. His furs turned to leaves 
and his tepee became a tree. Segun took some of these 
leaves and put them into the ground, breathing upon 
them. They freshened and changed into the trailing ar- 
butus, the sign to children that summer has come and 
winter has gone away. 

Arcadian hind In Greek legend, the hind (also known 
as the hind of Cerynca) chased by Hercules for a year 
and captured as his third labor. The hind, with antlers 
of gold and hoofs of bronze, was sacred to Artemis and 
could not be killed. Hercules tired it out by chasing it all 
over the Peloponnesus (or all over the world). He 
brought it back to Eurystheus and then released it. 

arch A structural member rounded vertically to span 
an opening. In folk practices arches are used to purify, 
cure, and to form a barrier against evil spirits, enemies, 
and diseases. The most familiar use of the arch was that 
made by the Romans who marched under a triumphal 
arch after battle. This has been explained as a purifi- 
catory measure to rid them of the stain of bloodshed 
and to impose a barrier between the men and the ghosts 
of their enemies. 

A cure for whooping-cough, boils, or rheumatism 
(England, Wales, France) was to crawl under an arch 
formed by a bramble. The popular cure for scrofula 

(Bulgaria) was to make a patient crawl nawTT' 
times through an arch made of vine branches Tt, » 
gandas transfer disease to a plantain tree, carry th 
out to svastcland, and then raise an arch of bra 
over the path taken, to prevent the return of fo* 
ease. A similar custom is practiced in the Cam ' 
where the spirit of smallpox is drummed out of a 
and then the village is enclosed with creeper rop« , 
the paths arched with bent poles to which aresuswj 
plants, nests of termite ants, and a freshly killed dog" 

archangel An angel of highest rank: in Christian 1» 
end, one of the seven, in the Koran one of the four c&f 
angels: in Roman Catholic theology a member of ft. 
eighth of nine divisions of angels. The names of ft! 
archangels vary, although the first four arc gencralh 
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. In the apocali pl ;i 
Enoch (xxi), they arc listed as Uriel, Raphael, Ramft 
Michael, Saricl, Gabriel, and Jcrahmccl, In the Kona 
the list includes Gabriel, angel of revelations; Michael 
the champion who fights the battles of faith; Azrael.ft. 
angel of death; and Israfcl, svho is to sound the trumpet 
of resurrection. 

The dominant role of astrology during the medieval 
period led to the association of the archangels with ft. 
planets and constellations. Various archangels were as 
signed to the planets by Jewish astrologers, but the pre- 
ponderance of references seem to assign Raphael to ft. 
Sun, Gabriel to the Moon. Aniel to Venus, Michael to 
Mercury, Kafziel to Saturn, Zadkicl to Jupiter, an) 
Satnael to Mars. In medieval Christian thought, derive! 
from the Moslem philosopher Averrocs, the Sun was as- 
sociated with Michael, the Moon with Gabriel, Vearn 
with Anael (Aniel), Mercury with Raphael, Saturn still 
Cassicl (Kafziel), Jupiter with Sachicl (Zadkicl), and Man 
with Samnel. The archangels were also bound up with 
the 12 signs of the Zodiac, new ones being borrowed cr 
invented to make up the required number, and were 
used by conjurers who employed their names in eflccticg 
cures. There arc close parallels between the archangel! 
and the seven planetary spirits of Babylonia, the Amahs 
Spentas of Zoroastrianism, and the Hindu Adilyas. 

arch dances Dances which indude as a dominant fig- 
ure the procession of the coupled dancers through an 
arch formed by others. This arch is an ancient syuM 
of the green bough, and now survives in the Virginia 
Reel and London Bridge. Innumerable folk dances cl 
Ireland, England, Scandinavia use this motif, forgetful 
of its meaning. As final figure of the Provencal faran- 
doulc some of its import shimmers through. In Spain 
and its colonics the arch dance survives as ceremonial 
in a special elaborated form, namely: each dancer holds 
a bent half-hoop decorated with flowers. Sometimes these 
dancers arc Basque sword dancers, sometimes they are 
girls dressed as pasloras or shepherdesses. Mexican car- 
nival celebrations feature these flowered arches in the 
danra de los arcos, danced by men of Tlapalita. Tlax- 
cala, and by the paslorcilas of Taxco, Guerrero. As com- 
monly in Mexican ceremonial dances, it is difficult to 
assign either native or foreign origin, and only possible 
to suggest a blend of pagan customs, [ere] 

Archives of Folk and Primitive Music, Indiana Uni- 
versity The Archives of Folk and Primitive Music at 
Indiana University, Department of Anthropology, in 
charge of Dr. George Herzog, established recently, com- 



arise approximately 10,000 phonograph records with at 
least 20,000 recordings. Almost all this material consists 
j£ private, non-commercial recordings. The bulk is con- 
tented with primitive music. The music of the North 
American Indian is represented by over 7,000 records; 
thus the Archives are, in this field, the largest depository 
:n existence. Smaller collections illustrate the native 
rrusic of South America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific; 
the several branches of Oriental music, and the folk 
nusic of various nations. Over two thirds of the material 
ivas gathered during the era of the phonograph cylin- 
ier; much of it is of considerable historical and musico- 
logical value and is irreplaceable. The cylinder collec- 
tions are being recorded on disks in order to improve 
their quality, to make their contents available for study, 
ind to safeguard the fragile originals. This large collec- 
tion includes deposits of many private individuals and 
rf various scientific institutions, such as the American 
Museum of Natural History, the Chicago Museum of 
Natural History, Columbia University, Yale University, 
and the University of Chicago. 

Especial efforts were made in connection with many 
d£ the collections to secure also an exact transcription 
md linguistic analysis of the song texts so that these 
:an be studied together with the music. There is also 
extensive information on musical instruments, on the 
ethnological background, and very detailed biblio- 
graphic data. 

The primary purpose of the Archives is to function as 
i study collection and as a depository for the safekeep- 
ing of materials pertaining to traditional music. The 
Archives cooperate with other institutions and with col- 
lectors. Publication of occasional albums of records is 
intended. George Herzog 

Arcturus A golden yellow star. Alpha in the constella- 
tion Bootes, but described by Ptolemy as golden-red. It 
is brilliant and conspicuous in the summer evening sky, 
so brilliant as to be visible 15 or sometimes 20 minutes 
before sunset. Arcturus has been known and mentioned 
variously since earliest times; Hesiod (c. 800 B.C.) was 
the first to mention that it rises 50 days after the winter 
5olstice. There are indications that it was identified as 
early as the 15th century B.C. in an Egyptian stellar 
calendar. It is known to have been the Chaldean Pap- 
sukal, Guardian Messenger, and deity of the 10th Chal- 
dean month. The allusions to Arcturus in Job ix, 9 and 
xxxviii, 32 in the King James version are now regarded 
as mistranslations of references to the Bear. In India 
this star was called (among other names) Nishtya, or 
Outcast, perhaps because it lies so far north of the 
zodiac. To the Arabians it was the Keeper of Heaven, A1 
Haris al Sama, probably because it dominated the early 
evening sky before the other stars were “let out." It has 
always been regarded as a stormy star, in its rising and 
setting, for both the sailor and the farmer; but astro- 
logically it portends wealth and fame for anyone born 
under it. Hippocrates in 460 B.C. assigned to it various 
influences on the human body, and held that all diseases 
waxed more critical after the rising of Arcturus. 

Ardhanarl In Hindu mythology, Siva, represented as 
half-male and half-female, typifying the incarnation of 
the male and female principles of the world. See Sakti, 

Ardvl Sura Anahita In Iranian mythology, the source 
of the celestial waters, deified as a goddess of prosperity 

and fertility: literally, the wet, strong, and spotless one. 
Ardvl Sura Anahita is personified as a handsome woman, 
stronger than horses, wearing shining gold footgear and 
golden raiment. See Anahita. 
areca One of the sacred plants of India. Its nuts are 
used to adorn the gods and with the betel leaf it enters 
into every important ceremony of the Brahmans. Village 
deities of the Kurumo caste are represented by five areca 
nuts which are kept in a box. The Indian custom of pre- 
senting an areca nut to guests is traditional. 

The areca is used by the Melanesians of the southeast- 
ern Solomon Islands in black magic, as propitiatory 
offerings to ghosts, in religious and betrothal ceremonies, 
and as a sign of mourning. Areca palms are cut down 
when a chief dies. A spray of areca is held in the hand 
of an orator at a feast as an emblem of peace. The nuts 
are given to women to enlist their affection. 

The areca nut and betel-chewing are important in 
many Asiatic and South Pacific folktales. In the Solomon 
Islands there are many stories of a magic areca palm 
that lengthened out and carried the man climbing it 
into the sky. 

Areop-Enap In the mythology of Nauru (Micronesia), 
the Ancient Spider, creator of the sun and the moon. At 
first only Areop-Enap and the sea existed, but one day 
Areop-Enap discovered a mussel shell. After much 
trouble he opened it and crept inside, but it was so dark 
he could see nothing. He crawled around, felt a small 
snail, then a larger one. He passed on to the small snail 
some of his power and made it the moon. By the faint 
light of the moon, he spied a worm which he set to work 
separating the upper and lower parts of the shell to 
make the sky and the earth. This the worm did, and 
died of exhaustion. The large snail became the sun. The 
worm-sweat, running into the lower shell, became the sea. 
From stones, Areop-Enap made men to support the 
sky, and then traveled about the newly created world. 
He discovered other beings and learned their names by 
creating a winged creature from the dirt under his nails. 
This flying “bird” annoyed the people and they called to 
each other to kill it. Thus Areop-Enap knew what they 
were called. 

Ares In Greek religion, a god of war representing its 
brutal and barbaric aspects; the son of Zeus and Hera 
and the lover or consort of Aphrodite. In Greco-Egyptian 
religion he was identified with Onouris and, as Ares 
Mahrem, he was worshipped in Aksum (Ethiopia). The 
Romans identified him with Mars. He never became a 
god of great moral or theological importance and his 
name was used to represent the war power of the enemy 
which would be overcome by the Greeks with the aid of 
their gods of civilized warfare, Zeus, Apollo, and Athena. 
In Greek mythology, the Aloadae bound and imprisoned 
him in a metal pot until Hermes was able to rescue him 
13 months later. In a Homeric merry tale he was de- 
tected by Hephxstus in an amorous intrigue with 
Aphrodite, caught with her in a net, and exposed to the 
ridicule of the gods. Sophocles called him the “god un- 
honored among gods.” 

Argo or Argo Navis The ship Argo: a huge constella- 
tion of the southern hemisphere, east of Canis Major: 
interpreted as the ship in which Jason and his fifty com- 
panions sought the Golden Fleece in Colchis. It was 
placed in the sky by Athena, or Poseidon, to be a guide 


forever across the southern seas. Another Greek myth 
identifies it with the first boat ever made, and the one in 
which Danaus and the Danaidcs traveled from Egypt to 
Rhodes. In relatively recent limes it has been divided 
into three smaller constellations: Carina, the Keel; Tup- 
pis, the Stem; Vela, the Sail. To the Romans also it was 
Argo. The Arabian name was A1 Sufinah, the Ship. 
Biblical astronomers called it Noah's Ark. 

Canopus, the brilliant star in the rudder of Argo, is 
called Agastya for a famous Rislii of Hindu tradition. In 
Egyptian mythology this constellation is identified with 
the ark in which Osiris and Isis survived their Flood. 

Argonauts In Greek mythology, the band of heroes 
who accompanied Jason on his quest for the Golden 
Fleece held by -Fetes, king of Colchis. After many adven- 
tures, Jason and his men reached Colchis in the fifty- 
oared galley, the Argo. With the help of Medea, the 
king's daughter, lie completed the tasks set by .'Fetes as 
the condition of surrendering the Fleece and then re- 
turned home to Iolcos taking the Fleece and Medea with 
him. The name is often applied to adventurous seekers 
after riches, as for example those taking part in the Cali- 
fornia gold rush of 1819. 

Argus (1) called Ptmoptes. In Greek mythology, the 
giant with a hundred eyes set by Ilcra to guard lo dur- 
ing her disguise as a heifer. Hermes beguiled Argus into 
sleeping and slew him. Hera took his eyes and scattered 
them as ornaments on the tail of her peacock. 

(2) In Greek legend. Odysseus's dog who recognized 
him on his return from his wanderings. 

(3) The builder of the ship Argo, son of Phrixus or of 

Arianthod Literally, silver wheel: a goddess of 
Brythonic mythology famed for her beauty, and assumed 
to be the daughter of Don. In the Mabinogion, she is the 
sister and mistress of Gwydion. She claimed to be a vir- 
gin in order to enter the sen ice of Math, but her pre- 
tenses were given the lie by certain tests imposed on her 
by Math and by the birth of her twin boys, Llcw Llaw 
Gvffes and Dylan. Dylan leapt into the sea, but Gwydion 
saved Llew and reared him carefully. Arianrhod so re- 
sented the boy’s very existence that she endeavored lo 
thwart his advancement in life at every turn. There is a 
reef off the Carnarvon coast still called Cacr Arianrhod 
and believed to be the remains of Arianrhod's island 
castle where Gwydion tricked the relentless mother into 
bestowing on I.lew the arms she intended to withhold. 

In early religious belief possibly Arianrhod played the 
dual role of virgin plus fertility goddess. In late folklore 
the constellation Corona Borealis became known as Cacr 

Aries The Ram: the first constellation Or sign of the 
Zodiac. The very ancient eastern Mediterranean or Meso- 
potamian myth that the world was created when the sun 
entered die constellation of the Ram points to human 
knowledge of the Ram in those distant centuries during 
which the Ram held the stars of the winter solstice. By 
the time Hipparchus (2nd century B.C.) began to sys- 
tematize astronomy and reckoned his year from the "first 
point of Aries," the Ram then contained the stars of the 
spring equinox. About -1000 years from now Aries will 
hold the stars of the summer solstice. 

Early mythologies identify the Ram with Zeus, with 


Ammon, the ram god of Egypt, and later withTh 
of the Golden Fleece who bore the mistreated cM-T 3 
of King Atliamas away from Thessaly. J n fact's ^ 
usually depicted as a reclining ram with head tur^ “ 
observe his golden fieece. The Hebrews, Syrian p 
sians. and Turks all had words for this constell - 
which mean Ram. One of the early Arabic nam^ 
A1 Kabah al ‘Alif, the Tame Ratn, later just Al H 
the Sheep. In China this constellation was originalpf’ 
Dog (Ilcang Low) of the Chinese zodiac, and wait! 
renamed White Sheep (Pih Vang). It j s a| ;0 
greater Chinese constellation (involving Taurus any 0 -* 
Gemini) known as the White Tiger. Early church ** 
ers (12th-lGth centuries) likened Aries to the rar < 
Abraham found in the bush, or to St. Peter, or to* c* 
Lamb of Goti sacrificed for the world. 

In astrology Aries is held to endow with violent t~ 
per those bom under his sign, and to presage somepW 
icnl harm that will come to them, sometimes da'}, r. 

Arikntc or Aricontc In the mythology of die Tuni fc 
dians of Brazil, the twin of Tamcndonar or Tacj- 
duare. A quarrel between the brothers resulted in 
great flood which covered the earth. The two dinb? 
trees on the highest mountains and saved their viva 
and themselves while all other men perished. From ti*v, 
couples, after the Hood, came the Tupinamba andth 
Tominu who perpetually feuded and warred with 
other. Sec Twins. 

Arioi or Arcoi Society A Polynesian (specifically l 2 . 
hiti and the Society Islands) religious association of id 
liates— comedians ami actors— performing traditions 
plays and dances, joking and satirizing on certain ten- 
sions. and having mysteries connected with the god ’Om 
The Arioi were considered divine; Tangaroa ot Roam 
was father of the first Arioi. The Arioi of the Sodetrlj. 
lands were ranged in seven or eight orders, the higher 
grades partaking of the deference accorded to div inter. 
The sign of their initiation into the society was tattooes:, 
which as the initiate rose higher in the scale bean: 
more and more complex, until in the higher orders, i: 
is said, the tattooing covered nearly the entire body. Tt; 
lower groups were not permitted to have children, in- 
born io them being killed; an attempt to presene tie 
child resulted in expulsion from the society. (This car 
tom must be read into the context of a highly overpope- 
latcd area in which some form of population control 
was necessary.) 

Members of the Arioi were of both sexes (men son 
to have outnumbered women in the proportion of five o 
one), and the highest rank of the association consisted c! 
a chief of men and a chicr of women. The one require- 
ment for entry into the society was inspiration; anyoa: 
could become a member, chiefs more easily than com- 
moners and into higher ranks. To the Arioi belonged tie 
most intelligent and the most handsome inhabitants rf 
the island group. After a period of training and leatniri 
word for word the traditional chants, the candidate o- 
hibited publicly his achievements. When he vras ac- 
cepted into the society, he took a new name, by which h: 
was thenceforth called. 

The society had houses on the various islands of tie 
gToup. The members of a lodge from one island oftc 
made mass voyages, carrying the god of the Faradise of 


Paradise with Ada® when he ML In «t, cut from a ruby, 
were figures of all the prophets to come, especially of 
Mohammed and his first four califs. According to Ibn 
■Abbas, a cousin of Mohammed, the ark and the rod of 
Moses are now hang in the Lake of Tiberias, to be 
brought forth at the last day. [sph] 

Arkansas Traveler A classic of native American humor 
and the best-known piece of folklore about the mythical 
state of "Arkansaw” (not to be confused with Arkansas). 
A lost and bewildered Traveler on horseback, in quest of 
lodgings, approaches the log cabin of a fiddling Squat- 
ter, who stubbornly evades or pretends to misunderstand 
his questions. The Traveler, tiring of the comic contest 
of wits, in which he is “straight man, resorts to the 
stratagem of offering to play the balance or turn of the 
tune" that the Squatter is sawing on his fiddle, and so 
breaks down the other's resistance and is welcomed with 

open arms. 

■Whimsical, quizzical dialogs between a harassed trav- 
eler and a crotchety innkeeper are found elsewhere (e.g. 
"Whimsical Dialogue between an Irish Innkeeper and 
an Englishman," Hit and Wisdom , London, 1853, pp. 
28-29). The theme of ingratiation by fiddling occurs also 
in "A Musical Tennessee Landlord," by “Dresbach” 
( Spirit of the Times XVI [February 13, 18-47]: 603), In 
Yankee humor, as Walter Blair points out (American 
Speech XIV [February, 1939]: 11-22), the roles arc usu- 
ally reversed, the inquisitive native being the questioner. 
The Arkansas Traveler fits into the pattern of frontier 
hospitality where "strangers w ere under suspicion until 
their intentions and character became reasonably clear.” 

About the medley has grown up the legend of the 
"Original Arkansas Traveler." According to tradition. 
Colonel Sandford C. (“Sandy”) Faulkner, of Little Rock, 
was touring the state with four prominent politicians 
during the campaign of 1840 and became lost in the Bos- 
ton mountains. On his return the Colonel related the 
encounter with the Squatter as having taken place under 
the circumstances described and was thereafter much in 
demand for his rendition of the dialog and the tune, 
and was popularly credited with their authorship. This 
distinction has also been conferred upon the young Ar- 
kansas artist, Edward Payson Washbourue (Washburn), 
who in 185S painted “The Arkansas Traveler,” and in 
1860 began the companion picture, "The Turn of tbe 
Tune," completed by an unknown artist after Wash- 
bourne's death at the age of 23. Both paintings have be- 
come almost as familiar as the dialog through the 
Currier & Ives lithographs (1870). 

Two other rival claimants to authorship of the dialog 
and the tune are Jose (“Joe") Tosso, the eminent West- 
ern violinist, and Mose Case, a guitarist, whose version 
of the skit was printed in 1862 or 1863. Of the many pub- 
lished and manuscript versions, the one issued by B. S. 
Alford of Little Rock, in 1S76, as "arranged and cor- 
rected by Colonel S. C. Faulkner," and based on a lost 
original printed between 1S5S and I860, ; . generally ac- 
cepted as standard. The tune (a jig . . hoe-down also 
known as “The Arkansas Traveler") was first published 
in 1847 under die title of “The Arkansas Traveler and 
Rackinsac Waltz,” arranged by William Cumming. 

Whatever its origin, the dialog is obviously a “syn- 
thesis of questions and answers already current" (James 
R- Masterson. Tall ■ a of Arkansaw, Boston, 1942, pp. 

240, 376). Parallels have been found for 
included, such as the leaky roof which can't b» 
in wet weather and doesn't need rem;,;-',’?" 0 - 
wealher (perhaps the most celebrated iatin th-^ 
the fair-and-square tapping of a barrel cT 5 ? 3 " 
through spigots at both ends by husband and V ,-Wf 
pass a single coin back and forth between tfcea 
payment; the assignment of nicknames to oiti— ^ 
the presence of a good road several feet below tC ! ’ 

The many-sided entertainment value of *q> ~~ 
kansas Traveler"— dramadc, musical, humored 
suited in wide diffusion in print (jestbooi, s-— 5 
broadside, sheet music) and oral tradition, 
paraphrase or garbled form. There is also evideca; k 
use as a folk play, such as Thomas Wilson reoSsK 
his boyhood in Salem, Ohio, where it seas zadc-t 
wagoners in a tavern barroom ( Ohio Archctlav,-?^:, 
Historical Quarterly VIII [January, I960]: 2>7-!j:~~' 
popularity of the medley in vaudeville Uzi h\~ ~ 
phonograph records) suggested a five-act 
Kit, the Arkansas Traveler (originally entitled 
the Mississippi), svritten by Edward Spencer and re- ' 
by Thomas B. de Walden, popular for thirty mm t 
tw een 1869 and 1899, whose only relation to ih» c~- 
however, is in the title of the hero and the use v 
tune. Other instances of the influence of thedzsccsj 
household svord and as an artistic inspiration in 
magazine. The Arkansair Traveler, established is Li- 
Rock, in 1883, by tbe Arkansas humorist. OpitRssi 
P. D. Benham, and David Guion's symphonic cor»;. 
tion based on the tune, [has] 

Arkansas Traveler pattern A traditional Ac:n~ 
patchwork quilt pattern named for the A these: 7 : - 
eler, song and story, probably dating from zl yr,\ ti> 
1850‘s. Each large square of the design is made tad 
four smaller squares pieced from seven stfl! 
scraps. The units arc simple, straight-edged, generix 
shapes which allow the thriftiest use of mivriv— 
scraps of material and are characteristic of the dtezr 
worked out in frontier homes, 

armadillo Any burrowing nocturnal mammal rf £• 
family Dasypodidae, haring an armorlike casein s: 
bony plates. Armadillos are common in South znd Cc- 
tral America and range as far north as Texas. 

The armadillo appears in the folklore and foihslsd 
South American Indian tribes of Bolivia. Brzdl rd 
Guiana. Tbe Moseten (eastern Bolivia) attached pi— 
of armadillo liver to a dog as a hunting charm. The Mss- 
coi (Brazil) believe a horned armadillo lives reds is 
ground and the Chamococo (Brazil and Bolivia) say tlx 
tills armadillo caused the Flood. 

In the myths of the Toba and Pilaga Indizns cf is 
Gran Chaco, Armadillo gave the people fruit by pirn- 
ing tasi under an algarroho tree. The tasi wound zsc zi 
the tree and bore fruit. Since then the plants have sped. 
everywhere, supplying men with fruit. These Ivize 
identify two bright stars under Orion as the cthsni 
armadillo w-ho unearthed the first women who fell hm 
the sky and were buried in the ground. He is inarm ci 
ail living armadillos. 

arrieros Literally muleteers: a men’s group cans d 
Acopilco and Tenancingo Indians of Mexico. It is n 
enactment of a native legend about the arrieros. At Cz 
end of a day of wandering through the mountains — 



jmulctcers relax, dance, cat, play, and go to sleep. They 
; ar c attacked by bandits, but are rescued by the Lord's 
'miraculous answer to their prayers. The attack and the 
miracle do not feature in the dance, but the dancers 
bring their props on adorned burros, play dice, and sit 
down to a small feast. In white shirts and cahones, 
sashes, and sombreros, they two-step through a variety 
of longways figures, to an insipid fiddle tune. Two men 
pretend to sleep on a petate. The end is casual and anti- 
climactic. In Tenancingo the arrieros are flagellants, with 
sacks on their backs, and alabanzas (songs of praise to 
the Virgin) on their lips, [cpk] 

arrimao or arrimado Name for extra-legal, socially 
sanctioned mating found among Negroes of the lower 
socio-economic groups in Cuba. See amasiado. [mjh] 

arrow A weapon shot from a bow; usually a slender 
shaft with a sharp point or head of stone or metal and 
feathers or vanes fastened at the butt. The use of the 
bow and arrow, first appearing in late Paleolithic times, 
has become world-wide. It is absent only among the 
Polynesians, Micronesians, and a few' African tribes, 
while the arrow and blowgun are used by the Malays, 
Melanesians, and South American Indians. Arrows are 
put to many uses other than warfare and hunting. They 
are employed in religious rites, in ordeals, as love 
charms, protective charms, amulets, lucky objects, 
touchstones, for divination and games, against witch- 
craft, as a preventive or cure for illness and the evil 
eye, and as symbols of deities, of lightning, rain, fer- 
tility, disease, famine, war, and death. 

Cheyenne Indian worship centers in a set of four medi- 
cine arrows which the tribe claims to have possessed 
from the creation of the world. These are exhibited an- 
nually and whenever a Cheyenne Indian has been slain 
by a member of his own tribe in order to cleanse the 
slayer from his tribesman’s blood. These arrows prob- 
ably arc relics of a period when the tribe worshipped a 
thunder god. 

Many North American Indian tribes begin certain re- 
ligious rituals by shooting an arrow to each of the six 
directions. The Mexican Quetzalcoatl, in his wind god 
aspect, carries a thunderbolt in the form of a flint ar- 
rowhead. Mixcoatl, as thunder god, carried a bundle 
of arrows (thunderbolts) in his hand. 

South African Bushmen sacrifice arrows to the river or 
to ancestral spirits residing in rivers. The Ostyaks (Fin- 
land) never passed a sacred tree without shooting an 
arrow at it as a mark of reverence. Offerings of arrows 
arc made to the Bagobo (Filipino) god of the hunt, Abog. 

Arrows are shot into the air during an eclipse by the 
Cayapo, Bororo, and Tapuyos (Brazil), and by the Caribs 
and Arawaks (Guiana) to frighten the sun into shining. 
The Ojibwas, believing that the sun was being extin- 
guished, shot fire-tipped arrows to rekindle it.The Sencis 
(Peru) shot burning arrows to drive away the savage 
beast with which the sun was struggling, and the Indo- 
chinese shot arrows at the dragon trying to swallow the 

As amulets, arrows or arrow-shaped pendants are 
hung around the neck in Italy to keep away illness and 
the evil eye, in Arabia to protect the blood, in France to 
facilitate childbirth, in Ireland as a protection against 
elf-shooting, among the Acoma Indians as a protection 
for children. They arc carried by the Malays as lucky ob- 

jects on which to sharpen their krises and cockspurs and 
as touchstones for gold, by Zuni women when venturing 
out at night, and by Zuni racers (in their hair) for luck. 
In Ireland water poured over neolithic celts and arrow- 
heads is given to children to cure the croup. Pliny men- 
tions that sleeping on arrows extracted from a body act 
as love charms. Kwakiutl women desiring a male child 
place arrows on a bailer under their beds. A bow and 
arrow are placed on a baby's chest or an arrow is shot 
into the afterbirth to make the child a good marksman 
in the same tribe. Miniature bows and arrows have been 
introduced by missionaries on Easter Island as toys. 

The arrow is associated with the moon, sun, and at- 
mospheric deities in various mythologies. The Libyan 
goddess Neith, the Greek gods and goddesses of love 
(Eros), hunting (Artemis), the sun (Apollo), and the Cen- 
taur Chiron, the Assyrian Ashur and Islitar, the Etruscan 
sun god Usil, the Hindu gods of war (Karttikeya) and 
love (Kama) are all depicted with bow and arrow. 

The Madras god of iron, Lolia Penu, directs the ar- 
rows of his followers against the enemy, averting their 
countershafts; and Ten Geris, Siberian Buriat thunder 
god, fights evil spirits with a fiery arrow. Siva destroyed 
Tripura with his mystic arrow. The Japanese god Susa- 
no-wo possessed a life-bow’ and arrows and a humming 
arrow with a whistling attachment (known in China 
during the T'ang Dynasty and used to make birds rise or 
to frighten enemies). 

Not only do arrows appear in the folktales and legends 
of all the peoples using them, but in many instances they 
play a major role. An island is created by shooting an 
arrow (Greek); an arrow speaks, revealing its hiding 
place (Hawaiian); a magic arrow indicates a lodging for 
the night (German), a place to build a city (German), a 
place to seek a bride (English, German, Hawaiian), a 
place to build a church (Danish), a burial place (Eng- 
lish); a magic arrow shakes heaven (Chinese), summons 
a water spirit (Chinese), and affords transportation 
(Arabian); is visible to one person alone (numerous 
tribes of North American Indians, especially in the 
North Pacific, Mackenzie River, and Northeastern 
Woodland regions, Siberia, and Asia generally). Magic 
arrows play an important role in Arabian, Breton, Chi- 
nese, Greek, Hawaiian, Hindu, Icelandic, Jamaican, and 
North American Indian tales. 

In a Koryak tale, when Ememqut's wife was abducted 
by a Kala, Ground Squirrel gave him an arrow which lie 
threw into the fire. This opened a way to the lower 
world where he found his wife. They returned through 
the hearth; Ememqut removed the arrow, and the road 
closed. Ememqut's arrow was also responsible for the 
impregnation of Fox and Triton. The Koryak believe in 
arrow’s with eyes which fly anywhere they arc sent with- 
out benefit of the bow. In a related Alaskan tale, Raven 
transforms a bird into an arrow which will fly wherever 
Raven points. In a Nez Percd Indian tale the trickster. 
Coyote, changed himself into an arrow. 

A familiar feature in Hindu legend is the SabdabhedI 
arrow’ which strikes what is heard. Prithiraj of Delhi, in 
the Alha folktales, uses an arrow to sew up a sword 
wound and thus enables the wounded man to continue 

In folktales it is usually the culture hero who discovers 
and teaches the people how to make arrows. The 


Chevenne Mut-si-i-u-iv and the Cree Wisakedjak, typi- 
cally, taught their people die art. [sra] 
arrow chain A motif (F53) appearing in folktales of 
the Plateau and North Pacific Coast Indian tribes, the 
Tupi and Guarayu Indians of Brazil, the Jibaro of Ecua- 
dor, die Koryak of Siberia, and numerous tnbes of 
Oceania. Typically die hero shoots a large number of 
arrows into the sky, one after another, so rapidly that 
they form a chain up which he travels, usually to rescue 
a friend. In some stories there are descriptions of battles 
with die sky -people and references to the stealing of fire 
from the sky. 

In tire Coos Indian version, the brother of a canoe- 
maker r\’ho was killed by a man of the sky-people, made 
an arrow drain by which he ascended in order to a\ enge 
his brother's deadi. This he did and then returned to 
earth bringing his brodier’s head with him. He put the 
head back on die body and it became die red-headed 
woodpecker, the red being the blood of the slain man. 

In a Guarayu story, Taraoi (Grandfather) had two sons 
who shot arrows upward, one into the butt of another, 
undl die chain was formed. Then they climbed the ar- 
row chain until they reached the sky where they became 
the sun and moon. 

In a Melanesian swan-maiden story, the wife of Qat, 
a sky-woman whom he had captured by taking her 
wings, was scolded by his mother. The sky-woman's tears 
uncovered her wings, which her husband had buried, 
and she quickly put them on and flew back to the sky. 
Qat shot arrows into the heavens forming a chain to 
which a banyan root attached itself. Then he climbed 
up and recovered his wife, but as he was descending, a 
man hoeing in the sky struck the banyan root. Qat fell 
dead and die w oman flew back to heaven. 

In a Koryak tale the arrow chain is reduced to one 
arrow - sent up to heaven thus making a road leading up- 
ward. In an Athapascan version two brothers are car- 
ried to the sky by a single arrow. In the Vai tribe of West 
Africa the arrow chain becomes an arrow bridge. 

Artavazd The unfUial son of King Artaxias: an evil 
power of old Armenian mythology. He resented the 
numerous sacrifices and suicides at his father's funeral 
as a depletion of the kingdom he was to inherit. Artaxias 
cursed him from the grave; and soon after, Artavazd fell 
from his horse over a precipice of Mount Massis. There 
he remains in a cave chained by iron fetters. When these 
are broken, he will emerge and rule over or destroy the 
world. The noise from a blacksmith's hammer is be- 
lieved to strengthen his bonds, so smiths still strike their 
anvils a few blows evert- day, even on holidays and Sun- 
days to prevent Artavazd from breaking loose. 

Artemis In Greek religion, a virgin goddess of nature 
and the moon; originally a mother deity and goddess 
(non-Hellenic in character) of lakes, rivers, woods, and 
wildlife, especially of animals of the chase as the fawn, 
stag, and boar. From fosterer of wildlife she developed 
into a goddess of fertility, marriage, and childbirth. In 
Attica and Arcadia she was identified with Callisto, and 
honored as mother of the tribe with the name Artemis 
Calh'ste or Brauronia. At Sparta she was worshipped as 
Artemis Orthia, \ sector of women and children; as 
Artemis Lochia sh _ was a goddess of childbed, as Artemis 
Curotrophus the nurse of youths. As Artemis Tauropolus 
and Irerlaiia she was an agricultural goddess. Homer 

spoke of her as Agrotera, the huntress. Her 
clarion with Hecate resulted in her rule of ma« ‘ ? 55 ‘ 
and the moon. In Artemis Parthenos the eonce'''^^ 
her virginity crystallized. 1; 

First-fruits of the hunter and fisherman were tr- 
eated to her at her shrines or hung on trees- i n jy,. 
ship of Artemis Laphria bears were burnt To 
Brauronia goats were sometimes sacrificed; on oih-'r 3 
casions she was worshipped in ceremonies which ^ 
probably a survival of initiation customs. Maidens f-2 
five to ten years of age danced in saffron robes and ~ 
called bears. None could marry before unden-oinJe? 
rite. Traces of human sacrifice to Artemis are'mrj’ 
in the myth of Iphigenia. " 

Before the battle of Marathon the Athenians vowel- 
sacrifice to Artemis a number of she-goats equal t 0 ,v". 
number of enemy warriors killed. So many warn," 
were slain that the vow was necessarily compro-S 
and only 500 were sacrificed every year. *" 

Artemis is represented with a torch, possibh -< , 
moon symbol or a symbol of vegetation. She dwelt * 
Mt. Taygetus where her herb, artemisia, grew, and 
shrine at Lusi was famous as a healing center. 

She was equated with Bast in Grcco-Egyptian rdi-.- 
and identified with the local goddess, Diana, by the kv 
mans. As Artemis Tnuropolos she was confounded in’- 
Anahita. She was the chief goddess of the amphictn^ 
at .Ftolia, associated with Apollo at Delphi, and one rf 
the more important of tile Olympian deities. 

In Greek mythology, Artemis was the daughter c: 
Zeus by Leto, twin of Apollo, and was associated w|; 
the nymphs Britomartis and Callisto, and with IpS 
genia, Opis, Hecate, Echo, and the Naiads. She was ba 
on the island of Delos to which her mother had fied t; 
escape the wrath of Hera. She was associated with hr 
brother in nearly all his adventures. With him she si- 
dued Tityus and the Python, assisted in the punish™; 
of Niobe, and reputedly transformed Callisto into t 
bear because she had deserted the huntress-band fa 
Zeus. Her severity is celebrated. She visited the Grtd 
army with a pestilence before the Trojan War and pro- 
duced a calm to prevent their sailing because Asacm- 
non had killed a stag sacred to her. When he was ate 
to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, to placate the ged- 
dess, Artemis snatched the maiden away, leaving a hiri 
in her place, and made Iphigenia a priestess at her i tu- 
ple in Tauris. 

Artemis changed Arethusa into a stream to enable is 
to escape Alpheus, and Actxon into a stag because b 
spied her nude while she was bathing. Unknowingly 
she shot tile hunter Orion. Bewailing her error, sb 
placed him among the stars with his dog Sirius, til 
with the Pleiades, whom he loved, always flying hdea 
him. Her non-Hellenic character is probably attested E 
by the grotesque part Homer gave her in the battled 
the gods. In this contest she opposed Hera who vhippei 
her with her own bow and sent her off the field weepk: 

Arthur A British chieftain of the 5th-fith cennny 
central figure of a great cycle of romance. Legend srr, 
that he was bom at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, lire 
at Caerleon, Wales, with his wife Guanhuvara (Gtrire- 
vere), was leader of the Round Table, hunted the 
lous boar Twrch Tnvyth, and fought and slew the It 
mon Cat of Losanne, conquered many lands, wzs b- 
tiayed by his wife and dearest knight, was mortdy 



wounded at the battle of Camlan, and was taken to 
Avalon by three fair)' queens, whence lie will return in 
the hour of his country’s need. 

tiS 3 " Historically, a victorious battle-leader of the 
Britons against the Saxons about 500 A.D., of whose life 
and death nothing more is known. The vast pseudo-his- 
torical and romantic literature which grew up about him 
from the 12th century on reflects folk traditions and 
mythological concepts. 

Nennius, a Welsh cleric, writing about 820, furnishes, 
besides an untrustworthy account of Arthur's battles, a 
list of marvels. Two arc localized in the neighborhood 
of the Wye: a stone in which Arthur’s hound Cabal had 
left its footprint during the hunting of the boar Troit; 
and the grave of Arthur’s son Anir, the length of which 
varied each time it was measured. The Welsh tale of 
Kilhwch and Olu'cn, composed about 1100, belongs to 
the general Jason and Medea type and contains much 
mythical and folktale material. Several personages (Ma- 
hon, Modron, Manawydan, Llwch) arc taken over from 
the Continental Celtic and the Irish pantheon; others 
arc helpful companions, who assist the hero in his im- 
possible tasks, as did the Argonauts and similar figures 
in modem folktales. There arc giants to be stain, vessels 
of plenty to be sought, and the supernatural hoar, men- 
tioned by Nennius, to be hunted from Ireland across 
South Wales and Cornwall into the sea. The details of 
the chase show the characteristic interest of Welsh and 
Irish in accounting for place names. Arthur has become 
a king and shares in several quests and adventures, but 
seems to have acquired no supernatural attributes. The 
same may be said of him as he appears in The Spoils of 
Annum, a poem probably of the 10th century, raiding 
the island fortress of the gods in his ship I’rydwcn, and 
returning with a magic caldron from which none but 
the brave could obtain food. 

The most famous mythical concept attached to Arthur 
is that of his immortality and Messianic return to re- 
establish the Britons in their kingdom, but it is not at- 
tested before 1113. In that year certain French canons, 
having been shown Arthur's scat and oven (probably 
megaliths) on Dartmoor, came to Bodmin, and a fracas 
arose between their servants and a Cornishman who in- 
sisted that Arthur was still alive. From the same source 
we lcam that Bretons and French quarreled over this 
question, and from then on the testimony is continuous 
that, especially in Brittany, the belief in Arthur's sur- 
vival and return was firmly fixed. Alanus dc Insulis 
(1174-79), in commenting on Merlin’s prophecy that 
Arthur’s end would be doubtful, says that anyone who 
proclaimed in Brittany that Arthur had shared the fate 
of mortals could not escape stoning. Malory, years later, 
testifies that some men in many parts of England be- 
lieved that the king was "had by the will of our Lord 
Jesu into another place,’’ and would come again and 
win the holy cross. 

The "British hope” represents an old pagan belief that 
the hero is a god who cannot die, a belief revitalized 
and prolonged through the centuries by the simple hu- 
man urge to optimism which in modern times refused to 
accept the death of Bonaparte and Kitchener. Certainly 
there was a strong mythological element in the tradition, 
for every account of Arthur's survival in medieval litera- 
ture or modern folklore either places him in the world 
of the immortals or implies his superhuman nature. 

Geoffrey of Monmouth in his History of the Kings of 
Britain (c. 1I3G), drawing on Breton sources, tells us that 
Arthur was borne to the isle of Avallon to be healed of 
his Wound, and in the Vita Mcrlini (1150) informs us 
that Arthur lies on a golden bed in an cvcr-fruitful Isle 
of Apples, where the inhabitants live to be over a hun- 
dred, and where he is tended by the fay Morgen and her 
sisters. Thus Arthur’s abode is the mythical Isle of 
Women of the Celts, and Morgan lc Fay (in many ac- 
counts Arthur’s sister) is specifically called a goddess by 
three medieval writers. 

The wandering Breton contours transmitted the leg- 
end of Arthur’s survival to Sicily, for there we find him 
dwelling with Morgan according to Floriant and Florcte 
and Torrella’s Faula. The latter poem (1350-81) adds a 
mythical trait: Arthur remains young since lie is fed 
yearly by the Grail. This equates him with the Maimed 
King, who is likewise fed by the Grail and whose vital 
forces arc in sympathetic relation to the fertility of his 
land. Gervase of Tilbury (c. 121 1) describes Arthur as liv- 
ing on in a Sicilian palace, his wounds annually reopen- 
ing— another reflection of Arthur in the role of a vegeta- 
tion spirit. 

Gervase combines the motif of the island abode of 
Arthur with the widespread concept of the king in the 
hollow mountain, for it is in the dark depths of Mount 
Etna that the British king is discovered. The same con- 
cept was known to Ca:saritis of Hcisterhach and the 
authors of the IVartburgkrieg and the Dispute between 
a Christian and a Jew. We find it again in the 19th cen- 
tury attached to many eaves in Wales and England and 
to the Eildon Hills in Scotland. These folktales represent 
Arthur as lying asleep, surrounded by his knights, await- 
ing the day when lie will issue forth to victory— a blend 
of the Messianic return motif and a belief in some 
clithonian deity. 

The tradition of Arthur's subterranean dwelling had 
two strange developments. In Etienne dc Rouen’s Draco 
Norniannictts (1 1 07— GS) Arthur is held up to ridicule as 
ruler over the lower hemisphere, threatening to return 
to his old domain with a host of antipodean subjects in 
order to overthrow Henry II. Moreover, since Walter 
Map (1181) reports a folktale in which the king of a sub- 
terranean realm svas conceived as a dwarf riding on a 
goat, w-c can understand why a mosaic at Otranto (11G5) 
depicts Arthur astride the same bizarre mount. 

Long-lived svas the belief in the British king as leader 
of the Wild Hunt, originally the personification of svin- 
tcr and its storms. Gervase and tsvo other 13tli century 
svriters assign this role to Arthur, and tell how he and 
his company of riders may be seen by moonlight in the 
forests d Britain or Brittany or Savoy; sve have a Scot- 
tish reference from the lGth century; and at Cadbury 
Castle, Somerset, and in several parts of France, the be- 
lief svas still current in the 19th century. 

Another folk tradition holds that Arthur lives on in 
the form of a bird. Cervantes tells us that the English 
believed that their ancient hero assumed the form of a 
crosv, and an 18th century tourist in Cornsvall svas re- 
buked for shooting a raven, svhich might have been 
Arthur. The latest testimony from Cornsvall takes the 
bird to be a chough or a puffin. One might surmise that 
this transformation is related to the fact that Bran, son 
of Llyr, the cuhemcrizcd sea god of the M abiuogion 
and the prototype of the Maimed King, bears a name 


meaning “crow.” Certainly in the Mabinopon and Irish 
sagas we have instances o£ divine figures taking the shape 

of birds. .... 

Barring the modem folk traditions of Arthurs sur- 
vival, the British battle-leader's name lives on almost 
entirely in association with places or natural objects. In 
Scotland there is the majestic hill called Arthur s Seat; 
in 1 Vales there are a Craig Arthur near Llangollen and 
an Arthur’s Stone near Swansea; Cornwall boasts Ar- 
thur’s Hall. Hunting Lodge, and Grave, and Brittany 
Arthur’s Camp. These are but a few of many such names. 
Well might Tennyson write of 

that gray king whose name, a ghost, 

Streams like a cloud, man-shaped, from mountain peak. 
And cleaves to cairn and cromlech still. 


Chambers, E. K„ Arthur of Britain (1927), ch. VI, VH. 
Snell, F. J., King Arthur’s Country (1926). 

Loomis, Gertrude Schoepperle, "Arthur in Avalon and 
the Banshee,’’ Vassar Mediaeval Studies (1923), a. 
Loomis, R. S.. "King Arthur and the Antipodes,” MP 
38: 2S9. 

, Arthurian Tradition and Chretien de Troyes 

(1919), ch. Ill, XXVIII. 

Krappe, A. H., "Die Sage vom Konig im Berge,” Mit- 
tcilungen der Schicsischen Gesellschaft fur Volkskunde 
XXXV (1935), p. 76. 

Rocer S. Loomis 

artificial whale A folktale motif (K922) especially 
popular among the American Indians of the North 
Pacific Coast. A hunter returns home and finds his wife 
and child crying. They have been mistreated by her 
brothers in his absence. The man proceeds to make many 
killer whales out of wood— alder wood, red-cedar wood, 
spruce, hemlock, etc., but all are mere logs when put in 
the water, until finally he makes some out of yellow- 
cedar wood (or yew), paints them with white stripes and 
white bellies, shouts to them to live and swim, and these 
live and swim, catch red cod, salmon, halibut, etc. So at 
last he is satisfied. 

The next day when the wife’s brothers go hunting, 
the man sends his killer whales to upset their canoes, 
but with instructions to save the youngest brother, be- 
cause he alone was kind to the wife and child. The 
whales do this; the canoes of the brothers are broken, the 
brothers are drowned, but the canoe of the youngest is 
conducted safely home. After this satisfactory revenge 
the man (in a Skidegate version) then names his whales 
and tells them to depart and go live in various places. 

In other versions, a group of animals make an artificial 
whale in order to kill Thunderbird. A Rivers Inlet vari- 
ant tells of two culture heroes who make an artificial 
whale in order to kill Thunderbird, who carries away 
people. When the whale is finished the people enter it. 
There arc many variants, giving details of how the whale 
gets stuck in the mud, or does not swim properly until 
the inmates arc taught how to handle it. When the 
whale appears in front of Thunderbird’s house, Thun- 
derbird sends out his children to catch it. All are killed, 
drowned, have their feet cu. 'ft by the inmates near the 
blow hole, and Thunder i . _. himself is finally killed. 

There is a Korvak story in which the two daughters of 
Big-Raven mak< . linden whale as a means of escaping 
from the wild- - , and finding human habitation. Big- 

— 7 ? 

Raven and his wife took the two girls into thenT' 
ness and left them there. At home the parents 
reindeer meat and sent the lean strips to the dan 2 '- ^ 

At last the two daughters made a wooden whale tm ^ 
log and put it in a pail of water; in the momh-?v l 
whale had outgrown the pail. They put it in a ^ 
lake; in the morning the whale had outgrown Owin' 
They put it in a big lake, and in the morning TT 
bigger than the big lake. So the sisters put the vW 
in the river, entered into it, and said, "O Spotted IVbv 
take us to a settlement.” The whale swam down the^Z 
and out to sea. The story does not tell about their 
ing to another settlement. ' 

This story contains parallels of two very wcIMnov- 
and widespread motifs: image comes to life (15135 1) 3 -,' 
in the case of the animal’s expedition to kill Thiinm 
bird, the Trojan horse motif (K754.1). Of espedafi- 
terest, however, in North American Indian folklore,' 
the matter of trial and error in the making of thevhd- 
and the final discovery of the appropriate wood to gS 
to insure success. This is but one of numerous stona 
of the North Pacific region in which the people "trt 
various kinds of wood to make canoes, animals, birds, 
children, etc. that will behave as desired for specif 

arts and crafts The distinction between arts and caia 
is one that critics are slow to attempt, particularly in d- 
folk and primitive field where the esthetic is so often j 
byproduct of the utilitarian. For thisrreason the tiro art 
generally bracketed together, and together they indsd: 
all those activities and skills where objects are created 
produced, or adorned by non- or semi-mechanical mat 
ods. If a broader term is desired, covering all the won 
activities of a people, arts and industries may be usei 
the arts include the creative crafts, and industries core ; 
those which are strictly useful and repetitive together 
with such other activities as gathering, cultivating, he;, 
ing, fishing, and manufacturing. 

In this volume, arts and crafts are considered to be a 
part of folklore. Not all critics adhere to this point tf 
view. However, folk art and folklore are so intertwine! 
that separation is academic. Religion is intricately in- 
volved in the graphic and plastic concepts of super- , 
natural beings, the dance with costume and mask, ritual 
with place of worship and many ritualistic objects, bus: . 
with the creation and decoration of instruments, custea 
with the nature of shelter, utensils, implements, weapons 
clothing, vehicles, and other possessions. Events an! 
calculations involve pictograph and picture story. In ho, 
little would be known of extinct cultures but for sur- 
viving examples of arts and crafts. Among many peopks , 
of the world these abilities were the gift of the eultea > 
hero, and a basic part of their mythology and legesi | 

aru In the belief of the people living on Barrie Bay 
(New Guinea), the shadow of a living human being cr 
the spirit or soul of a dead one. The aru goes to Mania 
the land of the dead in which there is plenty of food, » 
illness, but which otherwise resembles the world of the 

Anmkulta Term for supernatural evil power or a: 
object with such power of the Central Australian A rani 
tribe, [kl] < 



Arum In Babylonian religion and mythology, a 
mother goddess associated with Marduk as the creatrix 
of the seed of mankind; in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the 
cicatrix of Eabani. See Semitic mythology. 

arval, nrvel, averil, arfal, arddcl, or artlicl In England 
and Wales, a funeral repast usually including bread or 
cakes with ale and wine; the sweet cake served at a 
funeral repast; also, the funeral ceremonies. The name 
is sometimes connected, on rather slim evidence, with 
the Roman Fratres Arvalcs (the Anal Brethren), a col- 
lege of 12 priests who annually, at the Amalia, a May 
festival, sacrificed to the Dea Dia, thought to be Ceres, 
the goddess of the fields. While the connection between 
the spirits of the dead and fertility is not uncommon, no 
specific evidence is available to show the descent of the 
British custom from the Roman. 

Asa’asc Ashanti-Fanti earth deity, whose worship has 
been retained among the Negroes of Dutch Guiana, and 
is also known to the Maroons of Jamaica. In the Gold 
Coast, the name of the deity is Asasc Ya, the female 
day-name for Thursday being added to the designation. 
Thursday is the day sacred to this deity. In West Africa, 
and in the Guiana bush as well, no cultivation is done on 
that day. [mjii] 

asafetida A gum resin, red-brown in color, prepared 
from certain plants of the fennel family, especially 
Ferula assafoetida, an umbelliferous plant of Afghanis- 
tan and Persia. It is acrid, bitter, and strong in odor, due 
to the presence of organic sulphur compounds. Medi- 
cally it is administered to stimulate the intestinal and 
respiratory tracts and the nervous system. It is used as a 
condiment in India and Persia and as a vegetable. The 
resin is used for “conjure" and as an amulet among the 
Negroes of the southern United Stales and West Indies. 
A favorite concoction of West Indian witch doctors is 
made by mixing bones, ashes, grave dirt, and nail par- 
ings, with asafetida. Worn around the neck, it is sup- 
posed to ward off witches, keep away the spirits of dis- 
ease, or cure rheumatism. In parts of Europe it is carried 
in the pocket as a preventative of smallpox. 

Asafoclie The Ashanti-Fanti term for bands of young 
fighting men that comprised the units in the tribal 
armies of prcconqucsl times. There is evidence that cer- 
tain aspects of the Asafo groupings had to do with co- 
operative work-groups, such as arc found in West Africa 
under the term dokpwe (Dahomey) or, in the New 
World, combitc (Haiti), though in the Gold Coast these 
functions were subordinated to military ones. The Asa- 
foclie groups still exist, but their ancient authority to 
punish violators of community properly is not recog- 
nized by the British, [mjii] 

asagwe A type of Haitian vodun dancing, known as 
the salute to the gods. The manman, the largest of the 
three vodun drums, signals for this figure to start and sets 
the distinctive rhythm to which it is performed. The 
dance figure itself is characterized by sweeping circular 
movements, dips, and semiprostrations. 

Asapuma, Asapura, or Aiapuri In Hinduism, an 
earth or mother goddess; literally, she who fulfills de- 
sire. ASpuma is worshipped by the Charans and the 
Hinglaj and as a form of Gaurl by the Rajputs. Her 
image at Madh in Cutch is a red-painted rock to which 
an annual sacrifice of seven male buffalos is made. 

Asbjiimscn, Peter Christen (1812-1885) A Norwegian 
author and folklorist; contributor to the study of com- 
parative mythology. Chief works: Norsks Folheeventyr, 
Christiania, 1812, produced in collaboration with Jorgen 
Moc; Norskc Huldrccvcnlyr og Folksagn, Christiania, in 
2 vols., 1815—18; and a second volume of the Norskc 
Folheeventyr, Christiania, 1871. These books have been 
translated into English in Popular Talcs from the Norse, 
1859; Talcs from the Fjetd, 187f, by Sir George W. 
Dasent, and in Round the Yule Log, 1881, by I-I. L. 

Ascension Day The fortieth day after Easter Sunday, 
on which is commemorated Christ’s ascension after his 
resurrection ( Acts i, 9). The institution of this celebra- 
tion is attributed to the Apostles, and some of the cus- 
toms observed arc closely related to the Christian sig- 
nificance of the day while others arc pagan ill origin. 

During the Middle Ages the day was celebrated with 
a religions procession which symbolized Christ’s entry 
into heaven. In some Roman Catholic churches an image 
of Christ was raised from the altar through a hole in the 
roof and a burning straw figure representing Satan was 
thrown down through the same hole. In Munich until 
a hundred years ago the expulsion of the devil from the 
city was enacted on Ascension Day (ceremony of the hu- 
man scapegoat). The night before, a man, disguised as a 
devil, was chased through the streets by people dressed 
as witches and wizards. When he was caught he was 
ducked in puddles and rolled in dunghills. Finally, the 
disguise was removed, stuffed, and hung in the tower of 
the Fraucnkirchc until the next day when it was burned. 
Similar ceremonies arc said to be observed in Upper Ba- 
varia. In Rouen, France, a prisoner (scapegoat) was re- 
leased and pardoned on Ascension Day. lie confessed 
his sins and received absolution in the city square. The 
next day, in the presence of a great assembly, lie was re- 
proved for his sins and admonished to give thanks to 
God, St. Roinain, and the canons for his pardon. 

In Roman Catholic churches on this day the paschal 
candle is removed from the altar and extinguished after 
the Gospel at High Mass, symbolizing Christ's departure 
from the Apostles. 

On this day the English custom of beating the bounds 
is still performed in some parishes. School children, ac- 
companied by clergymen and parish officers, walk 
through the parish and the boys arc switched with wil- 
low wands along the boundary lines to teach them the 
bounds of their parish. In Exeter, the Lamb is hailed on 
Ascension morning, as a result of the belief that the 
figure of a lamb actually appears in the cast. In the north 
of England a smock race is run by girls for the prize of a 
Holland chemise. Men in the slate quarries of northern 
I Vales believe that if they work on Ascension Day a fatal 
accident will occur. 

In Nottinghamshire, England, it is believed that an 
egg laid on this day, placed on the roof of a house, will 
ward ofT fire, lightning, and other calamities. In Swabia, 
Germany, wreaths of red and white flowers, hung over 
the stable doors, served the same purpose. In Denmark, 
a rowan tree cut on Ascension Day and placed over a 
door will prevent the entrance of witches. 

In northern Germany it is still believed that melons 
planted on Ascension Day will thrive. In Hildesheim 
young girls ring the church bells while swinging on the 
ropes. The girl who is carried highest by the swing of 


the belt will get the longest flax at harvest time. In Hes- 
sen herbs collected on Ascension Day are considered 
especially powerful medicinally. The people of Sicily be- 
lieve in miraculous cures effected on the stroke of mid- 
night preceding Ascension Thursday, 
ascent to sky on feather A folktale incident or motif 
(FGI.2) in which the hero travels on a large feather to 
the skv: found especially in tales among North Amer- 
ican Indians of the North Paciflc Coast, the Plateau, and 
Plains areas. The hero cither adheres magically to the 
feather, which draws him to the sky, or he is simply car- 
ried on it. In a certain Bella Coola Indian story a little 
boy watches the hero depart on a large feather which 
soars and swoops in large circles through the sky. [ewv] 

ascent to upper world A world-wide folklore motif 
(FI 0-17, F5CM38) in which the ascents are made by vari- 
ous means and for many reasons. Sometimes the hero 
goes to the sky to retrieve a wife or friend, to obtain 
fire, for revenge on the sky people, to obtain gifts which 
produce food and riches, because of curiosity, or to catch 
the sun. 

The Indonesians and South American Indians use a 
vine as a sky rope. Ascents or descents arc made in a bas- 
ket in tales of the North American Indians and in Si- 
berian stories. A ladder appears in the vision of Jacob 
in which he saw angels ascending and descending a lad- 
der leading from earth to heaven. A Mazovian legend 
tells about a pilgrim to the Holy Sepulchre who saw a 
ladder made of bird’s feathers. He climbed it for three 
months and reached the Garden of Paradise. Other in- 
stances of the use of a ladder are found in tales of the 
Cape Verde Islands, Egypt, Gold Coast, and Mongolia. 

Ascents arc made by a stretching tree in Indonesian, 
Ekoi, Congo, Cape Verde Islands, Charentc (Brazil), and 
North American Indian tales. In the sun-snaring myth 
of the Wyandots a strong child climbed a tree which was 
too short, so he blew upon it and lengthened it until it 
carried him to the land above the sky. While there he 
set snares for game, but caught the sun instead. Until 
the sun was released by a mouse, there was no day on 
the earth. In the Kalcvala, Vainamoinen made a fir tree 
grow till it touched the sky, then llmarinen climbed it 
to get the moon and Great Bear, but was blown off by a 
magic wind. 

In some cases the plant grows to the sky overnight as 
in the typical Jack and the Beanstalk story. This is found 
in British, Tuscan. Breton, Flemish, Slavonic (via a 
giant cabbage), Jamaican. Philippine, and Fijian tales. 
In the latter a boy, son of the sky king, Tui Langa, stuck 
his walking stick into the ground and lay down to sleep. 
In the morning it had become a tree up which he 
climbed and introduced himself to his father. The ar- 
row chain is another means of heavenly ascent, restricted 
in its recorded range to northwestern North America, 
Siberia, part of South America, and Oceania. Mountains 
reach or stretch to the sky in Australian, Egyptian, Ger- 
man, Ekoi, and Maidu and Ts’ets’aut folktales. 

In Chinese, Melanesian, Indonesian, Greenland Es- 
kimo, Koryak. Mongol Turk, and North American In- 
dian tales, a sky window gives admission to the upper 

Ascent to heaven can also be made by a road (African), 
a narrow road (Bui' Indochina), a tower, by' pursuit 
of game (lroqtiob stretching (Dionysus in a Greek 


myth). Transportation to or from the upper uorld , 
times is supplied by a cloud (Greek, Chines:! V?"' 
feather or by adhering to a leather (North pjtjg.. I 1 
teau, Plains Indians), by a bird (Arabian. Eloi, sX * 
by a god (Rhodesia), on horseback (Siberia, Ansy-T' 
a sheep (India), by thought (Thompson River Ini/-, 1 
on a rainbow, by a ladder of sunbeams (Egypt), (, v -///' 
(African), by shooting with a magic bow (No/,;,’ 
ican Indian). 

Asgard, Asgardhr, or Asgarth In Scandinavian Cv i 
oiogy, the sacred space reserved for the abode 0 f p 
gods and goddesses, the resir and fisynjur, reached 
by tire bridge Bifrost. In saga, Asgard usually induil' 
12 Tealms: Valhalla, home of heroes slain in battb 
Gladsheim, home of Odin and the chief gods; Valaslpe 
the hall of Odin; Vingolf, home of Frigga and tT- 
risynjur; Thrudheim, realm of Thor; Breidablik h~-i 
of Balder; Folkvang, the realm of Freya; Ydalir/uiin' 
damp region; Sokkvabekk, the home of Saga; Landvp 
home of Vidar; Himinbiorg, home of Heimdali; 
Forseti’s bright palace, Glitner. 

asgardsreid Literally, Asgard’s ride or chase; in Tto. 
tonic mythology, the wild ride of Odin or Frigga. It » 
still spoken of as being especially active during the dark 
stormy Yule nights. 

ash In Scandinavian myth, the world tree was ff* 
ash, Yggdrasil; and an ash torn out of the earth by th; 
gods was transformed into Ask, the first man. The 
was regarded with awe in Ireland. "Cruel the ash tret’ 
is in the Battle of Trees; and today the shadow of jj 
ash is said to blast grass and crops. 

In England, where the ash was considered especial!; 
potent, children were sometimes passed through a deft 
in an ash tree as a cure for rupture or rickets; Scottish 
Highland children were given the astringent sap of & 
tree as a medicine and as a protection against witch- 
craft. In many parts of England warts were transferred 
to the ash, sometimes by rubbing them with a piece of 
bacon and then slipping the bacon under the bark of an 
ash tree, sometimes by saying a charm such as, "Ashen- 
tree. Ashen-tree, Pray buy these warts of me,” while i 
pin was stuck first into the tree, then into the mil, 
finally into the tree where it remained. 

Ash rods were used in some parts of England for tie 
cure of diseased sheep, cows, and horses. The Shrtv 
Ash, still standing in Richmond Park, is a reminder rf 
the cure for cramp or lameness in cattle. By boring a 
hole in the ash, inserting a live shrew mouse in the hole 
and then plugging it up, the disease was transferred to 
the tree. 

Belief in the efficacy of the ash tree against snakes was 
first mentioned by Pliny, who stated that a snake vouH 
not creep over ash leaves and that if a circle were drawn 
with an ash rod around a snake it would die of stana- 
tion. This belief persists in England and the United 
States and the snake’s fear of ash leaves has been ex- 
tended to a fear of the shadow of the tree. 

asherah (plural ashcrim) A sacred pole which stood in 
close proximity to the massebah and the altar in carl; 
Semitic sanctuaries. Originally it was a sacred tree. later 
it was artificially constructed of wood (I Kings xiv. H. 
23; II Kings xvii, 10, 10), sometimes in imagelike form 
(I Kings xvi, 13). Such posts were a part of the cuitus 



equipment of the temple of Jahweh in Jerusalem down 
to the Deuteronomic reformation of Josiah (II Kings 
xxiii, 6). 

The Phoenician asheriin arc represented variously as 
slender posts surmounted by a crescent moon, curved 
lines forming a kind of sun disk, or by two sun disks. 
They are often represented as conventionalized date 
palms in drawings. In the Hebrew cult the posts were 
sometimes carved into tlie semblance of a human form 
or of its reproductive organs and -were often draped. 
From the asherah teas developed the wooden idol. 

The asherah was sometimes regarded as a symbol of a 
deity and gave its name to the god or goddess it sym- 
bolized. The Canaanites called their goddess of fertility 
and prosperity Asherah and the consort of the Syrian 
god Amurru was an Asherah. Among the Israelites there 
is some indication of the same transference ( Jttdges iii, 

! 7; II Kings xxiii, 4). The name also attached itself to 
the mother goddess in some areas. Krappe believes her 
' to be the great goddess of the Syrians, and the posts 
either a survival of a dendromorphic stage or, on the 
' analog) - of the Roman Terminus, the boundary-markers 
of the sanctuary area. In Palestine, Asherah's consort 
: was Adad; in Arabia, he was the Minean Wadd. 

ashes The residue left after the combustion of a sub- 
: stance such as coal or wood or after the cremation of 
human or animal bodies or plants. Ashes arc used in folk 
. practices to control the weather, in religious rituals, in 
mourning customs, to fertilize fields, flocks, people, as a 
badge of humiliation, in divination and exorcism, to 
prevent sorrow, plague, vermin, lightning, fire, sore eyes, 
contagious diseases, skin eruptions, swollen glands, also 
to cure headache, nosebleed, colic, rheumatism, con- 
, sumption, and in ablutions and amulets. 

Because of the qualities attributed to ashes, probably 
stemming from a belief that they share in the mys- 
terious nature of the fire which produces them, they are 
used for religious or semireligious purposes in many 
parts of the world. A purificatory bath of ashes is used 
by the Lingayats (India). The Brahmans rub the body 
with ashes in preparation for religious ceremonies. 
Lamas of Tibet model images of Buddha from a mixture 
of clay and the ashes of a holy man, put them in shrines 
and perform devotions before them. Hindus use the 
ashes taken from the fires in honor of Darma Rajah and 
Draupadi to drive away demons and devils. The Kachins 

- (Burma) propitiate Trikurat, the forest spirit, after a 
hunt by treading on ashes taken from the house hearth. 

: Aztec priests blackened their faces with ashes before 
* celebrating religious ceremonies. In the Hebrew Red 
Heifer ritual for purification from defilement by con- 
: tact with a corpse, ashes from an offering were put into 
water, and the contaminated person was sprinkled with 
." the mixture. According to the Mishnah, during fast days 
proclaimed because of drought, the Ark of the Covenant, 
as well as the people participating in the procession, 
: were sprinkled with ashes. Covering oneself with ashes 
;) either served as an expression of self-humiliation or in 
; memory of Abraham who said, “I am but dust and 
ashes" (Gen. xviii, 27). Ashes are used as a symbol of 
penitence on the first day of Lent in the Catholic 
' Church. 

> Ashes are scattered in the air to condense clouds and 

- bring rain during droughts (Muyscas, New Granada), to 
[ disperse mist (Peru), and to clear the clouded evening 

sky (Guaravi'i, Brazil); they are thrown on the water to 
bring fair weather (Alacaluf, Tierra del Fuego), thrown 
into a whirlwind to calm it (Abipdn, Chaco, South 
America), scattered in the fields to prevent hailstorms 
(Bavaria, Bohemia), used as a talisman against thunder 
and lightning (France, Bohemia). 

In fertility rites the ashes of a sacrificed human being 
were scattered over the fields (Osiris rites, Egypt; Mari- 
mos, Becliuanaland; Klionds, Bengal); the ashes of ani- 
mals were used to insure the fecundity of flocks and a 
plentiful milk supply (Romans); those of the Easter fires, 
frequently mixed with palm ashes in Catholic coun- 
tries and those of the Midsummer fires (Germany, 
Switzerland, Ireland) were fed to animals or spread on 
the fields. 

Ashes are used to prevent or cure all types of disease 
or illness in men and animals. They cure sore eyes 
(Salee, Morocco; Moslems, North Africa; Mikirs, Assam; 
Hopi, North America), are considered a remedy for 
consumption when taken daily by the spoonful moist- 
ened with water (Belgium); they prevent skin eruptions 
and itch (Bosnia, Herzegovina, India, Hopi), heal swol- 
len glands (France), cure headache (Bombay), prevent 
hair from falling (Berbers, Morocco), stop fever (early 
England), cure stomach trouble (Miwok), stop nosebleed 
(Dakotas, Winnebagos), counteract inflammation (Hopi). 
The ashes of a male infant can be used as a cure 
(Qucchua, South America) for soccahuayra, an illness 
caused by malignant winds. Ashes are given to cattle to 
insure them against plague and other ills (Germany, Ar- 
menia) and to fatten them (China). 

More familiar uses of ashes are those of mourning 
customs in which they are symbolic of affliction. Many 
peoples strew themselves with ashes during funerals. 
The widow of a deceased member of the Arunta tribe 
smears her torso with white clay and then coats the 
clay with ashes. The Nahua carry the ashes of honored 
chiefs as talismans. The Digger Indians mix the ashes 
of a dead man with pine-tree gum and smear the mix- 
ture on the heads of the mourners. To absorb the quali- 
ties of the dead a number of South American Indian 
tribes mixed their ground bones or ashes with food or 
drink. The Tarianas and Tucanos disinter and cremate 
a corpse a month after burial, mix the ashes in caxiri 
and drink the concoction. In Bengal ashes are used to 
determine into which animal the ghost of a dead man 
has migrated. 

Ashes are used in divination, especially on Hallowe'en 
(Ireland, Isle of Man, Lancashire), to determine the 
guardian deity of children (Yucatan), to prevent the 
sight of ghosts or return of the spirit of a dead person 
(Mexico, Philippines, northern India), to make a bride- 
groom subservient to the bride (India). They are blown 
toward the new moon so that men’s strength will not 
decrease as the moon increases (Gold Coast). The 
Kwakiutl Indians rub the ashes of lupine on a child to 
make it sleep, ashes of cedar to make it strong, ashes of 
a snail for strong eyes, and the ashes of sallal berries 
and feathers to keep it quiet. 

In the cosmology of the Mocovf the Milky Way is be- 
lieved to be the ashes of the celestial tree which was 
burned in early days. The Incas believed that at one 
time the moon was brighter than the sun and that the 
sun, in a jealous rage, threw ashes into the moon’s face 
to obscure her brilliance. 


In mythology and folktale man was created from ashes 
(Gilbert Islands, Aztecs), the Milky Way is made of ashes 
(Bushman), ashes speak (Jamaica), a trespasser (ghost, 
lover, fairy, etc.) is detected by strewing ashes (Den- 
mark, Germany, Seneca Indians), resuscitation of a cre- 
mated man is effected by blowing on the ashes (Bakairi, 
South America) and by throwing ashes on the funeral 
pyre (India). People or objects are magically reduced to 
ashes in Indian, Arabic, and Danish folktale; ashes are 
used to mark a road or path (Germany, Jamaica, Benga, 
Ekoi, Gold Coast, American Negro). 

Ashes appear in riddles and proverbs; If a stick of to- 
bacco cost six cents and a half, how much 'would a pipe- 
load come to? Answer, ashes (Barbados); Every man must 
eat a peck of ashes (or of dirt) before he dies, [sfh] 

Aslrmedai or Ashmadai In Hebrew mythology and 
legend, the king of the demons who visited heaven every 
day to learn the fate of human beings. According to the 
Haggadah, Solomon sent Benaiah ben Jehoiadah to 
capture Ashmedai who knew the whereabouts of the 
sharair, a worm whose mere touch would cleave rocks. 
Ashmedai was forced to reveal the worm’s whereabouts 
and then to remain with Solomon until the Temple was 
completed. One day the king asked the demon wherein 
the greatness of the demons lay if their king could be 
kept within bonds by a mortal. Ashmedai replied that 
if Solomon would remove the chains and lend him the 
magic ring, he would prove his greatness. As soon as he 
was released, Ashmedai seized Solomon, flung him out 
of Jerusalem, and palmed himself off as king. After 
long wanderings and provided with another magic ring, 
Solomon regained his throne and the demon fled. 

Ashtoreth or Ashtareth The name used in the Old 
Testament for the Semitic mother goddess, Astarte- 
Ishtar ( Judges ii, 13; x, 6; I Sam. vii, 3; xil, 10). 

Ashur (1) or Ashsliur, Ashir, Asshur, or Assur In As- 
syrian religion and mythology, the chief god: a god of 
battle. Originally Ashur was the baal of the city of 
Ashshur and probably was a solar deity. As Assyria grew 
more and more warlike, Ashur’s attributes as a war god 
became more all-absorbing and his cult became the 
dominant worship of the entire country. His divine city 
depended upon the location of the royal residence and 
the king was the sole high priest. 

Stories, feats, etc., attributed to Anu, Enlil, and Mar- 
duk were gradually transferred to Ashur as the Assyrians 
subdued the country, so that he came closest in the As- 
syro-Babylonian religion and mythology' to crystallizing 
the principle of a central single god. He was pictured as 
an eagle-headed, winged deity, usually ivith a disk sym- 
bol surmounted by the figure of a warrior. He was chief 
of the Igigi, who fought for Ashur and the king. His 
consort was Ashuritu, Beltu, or Belit. Ishtar sometimes 
appears as his wife and sometimes as an independent 
queen united with Ashur in the leadership of the As- 
syrian people. The theory that he was identical with the 
Aryo-Indian Asura and the F .van Ahura has not been 
accepted, but he was almost hen deal in character with 
the Jahweh of the earlv 1 ■ . , c.s. 

(2) or Ashura In ir. ■ -nammedan lunar calendar, 
the 10th day of Mohr, the first month of the Mo- 
hammedan year: '.h. ■hammedan New Year. Among 
the Berbers of N-„ Vfrica, this is the day on which 
bonfires are built 1 . .at the people, by leaping over the 

flames or driving their cattle through them ca 
themselves from evil or prevent their cattie fm^'- 
coming diseased. Girls who wish to marry **- 

boiled over the bonfire which is sometimes buffi" ' ^ 
evening before Ashur. Compare Bfltank. * 071 

Ash Wednesday The first day of Lent: so called Frw 

the ceremonial use of ashes as a symbol of 

the Roman Catholic Church. Of the Protestant ** 
only the Episcopal or Anglican marks the davT" 
special service and the use of ashes has been 1 
tinned as a “vain show" since shortly after the in 3 
mation. The ashes, used on the heads of the faith! T ■’ 
the Roman Church and made by burning the palm/ JS 
on the Palm Sunday of the previous year, are 
there with the words. Memento, homo, quia cinis ' , 
in cinerem reverteris. At first ashes were administers 
only to public penitents who appeared barefoot anT 
penitential garb before the church door. As the nutaL? 
of penitents grew larger, ashes were administered to ft. 
entire congregation. 

Ash Wednesday and the three days following orH 
nally were not a part of the Lenten period, but lvm 
added about 700 A.D. to make the fast days 40 in nun 
ber (since the Sundays in Lent are not included as f 39 
days) to correspond to the number of days Christ fisted 

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of a period of ab- 
stinence, quiet, and penance, in strong contrast to tf. 
preceding period of carnival. In Germany the Jad-ot 
Lent made its appearance on this day: a ragged, son- 
crowlike effigy used to personify Lent. In rural France a 
personification of good cheer was carried around and 
money was collected for its funeral as a symbol of the 
burial of good living during Lent. In Italy, Spain, Ger- 
many, Austria, France, and Greece a personification c! 
the carnival was sentenced to death and stoned, burned 
or drowned by the peasants on Ash Wednesday or, occa- 
sionally, on Shrove Tuesday. 

In Germany it is considered bad luck to tie up cattle 
or sell them on Ash Wednesday. In Hesse, Meinengo, 
and other districts, people eat pea soup with dried ptV 
ribs on this day. The ribs are then collected and hum 
in a room until souring time, when they are inserted ii 
the fields or in the seedbag among the flaxseed as an in- 
fallible specific against earthfleas and moles, and to cause 
the flax to grow tall and well. 

Asin In the folklore of the Toba Indians of Brazil, a 
character sometimes regarded as a culture hero and tie 
creator of palm trees. Barbary figs, and bees, some- 
times believed to be a great shaman who plays the role 
of a miserable and very homely man only displaying his 
true power after great abuse, and sometimes regarded a 
the symbol of the humble man who proves his mettle, 
asisi or atiti In the belief of the Orokaivas of Papua 
(Melanesia) the shadow or reflection; also the immaterii! 
entity not necessarily visible but identified (especially in 
dreams) with or substituting for some person. The asisi 
is not a soul but an immaterial substitute. Animals and 
inanimate objects also have asisi. The asisi is not synony- 
mous with the sovai, which survives death. 

Ask or Askr In Teutonic mythology, the first man. 
created from an ash tree or a block of ash. Odin gave him 
a soul, Hcenir (Yili) gave him motion and the senses 
and Lodur or Loki (Ye) contributed blood and a rosy 
complexion. See Embla. 



Asking Festival or Ai-yd-g’tlk An Alaskan Eskimo fes- 
tival in which an attempt is made to fulfill the wishes 
and desires of each member of the community. On a cer- 
tain day a man chosen by the group carries from house 
to house a wand, named Ai-y;l-g'tlk, from which hang 
three hollow globe-shaped objects. In each house, when 
the Ai-yS-g'flk enters, the head of the house states his 
own wish, and on learning the wishes of others, gives 
something that another has asked for. It is wrong to re- 
fuse any request made with the Ai-ya-g'flk. In parts of 
the Lower Yukon, instead of verbal statement of the 
wishes being made, images of the things desired arc 
hung on the wand and carried from one member of the 
community to another, for the fulfilment of individual 

Asmodcus or Asmodxus In Hebrew mythology and 
legend, an evil spirit or demon; son of Naatnah, sister 
of Tubal-cain, and Shatndon; he appears first in the 
apocryphal Book of Tobit. Asmodcus fell in love with 
Sarah, the daughter of Ragtiel, and tried to prevent her 
from having a husband by killing each of her seven hus- 
bands successively on the nights of their marriage to 
her. He was rendered harmless when Tobias married her 
and, at the instance of the angel Raphael, burned the 
heart and liver of a fish. Asmodcus fled to Egypt where 
Raphael caught and bound him. In the Testament of 
Solomon lie is pictured ns the destroyer of matrimonial 
happiness. Solomon compelled Asmodcus to help in the 
building of the Temple. Asmodcus was the spirit of lust 
and anger; he was king. Lilith queen, of the demons. 

Asmodcus is Persian in origin and may be identical 
with the demon A’.shma, one of the seven archangels of 
Persian mythology, and the Zend /Eshmo daeva. He is 
identified with Ashmedai, but the relationship of the 
two is in dispute. Asmodcus seems to be an evil, de- 
structive spirit while Ashmedai, like the devil in me- 
dieval Christian folklore, is no longer the dreaded arch- 
fiend, but the degraded object of irony and humor. 

asogwe The rattle of the chief priest of any Da- 
homean cult: used to summon the gods. It could be ob- 
tained only from the king, and is an absolute essential 
for the establishment of a cult-house, whatever the cult. 
In the days of the monarchy, at the time for the annual 
taxation of cult-houses, the rattle had to be presented at 
the ceremony, whether or not the priest himself was able 
to attend. Its main function, however, is religious; with- 
out the asogwe no god can be called, [mjii] 

aspen Any of several poplars of Europe and North 
America with tremulous leaves, especially Pofntlus 
trcmula and P. tremuloicles. The leaf is said in Brittany 
to tremble because Christ’s cross was made of aspen 
wood, or because at the hour of the Passion the plants 
and trees of the world trembled and bowed their heads 
—all except the aspen which asked, "Why should we 
"'cep and tremble? We have not sinned!” Before the 
aspen had ceased speaking it began to tremble and will 
continue to do so until Judgment Day. In German tra- 
dition, during the flight into Egypt, the aspen was 
cursed by Jesus when it alone, of all the trees in the 
forest refused to acknowledge Him. At the sound of His 
voice the aspen began to tremble. Another belief is that 
the leaves of the aspen were made from women’s tongues. 
According to the doctrine of signatures the aspen is a 
specific for the ague. 

ass A long-eared equine quadruped, smaller than the 
horse and with shorter mane and tail-hair. The ass ap- 
pears in folk beliefs and tales wherever it is domesti- 
cated, especially in the countries around the Mediter- 
ranean Sea. Asses are found in Egyptian pictures dating 
back to the fourth millennium B.C. The Egyptian gods 
Ra and Typhon were identified with it. Both the wild 
and domestic ass arc mentioned in the Bible (Job xxiv, 
5). The domestic ass was used for riding ( Nttm . xxii, 21; 
II Kings iv, 21; Judges x, -1; xii, 14), for carrying bur- 
dens (Gen. xxii, 3; xlii, 20) and for plowing (Isa. xxx, 24; 
Dcut. xxii, 10). 

According to rabbinical literature the ass was created 
to carry burdens, its blood was a remedy for jaundice, 
and its bite more dangerous than that of a dog because 
it might break a bone. A strap made from ass or calf hide 
was used in judicial scourging. The ass of Abraham 
when he traveled to the sacrific of Isaac was declared to 
be the same animal which later bore Moses’ wife and 
her sons into Egypt (Ex. iv, 20) and which is to serve the 
Messiah (7.cch. ix, 9). The mother of this ass is the one 
upon which Balaam rode and which was created at the 
close of the sixth day of creation. 

Greek and Latin writers accused the Jews of ass-wor- 
ship and later made the same accusation against the 
Christians. These accusations probably originated in the 
misconception that the Jews worshipped Dionysus to 
whom the ass was sacred. The ass was the religious sym- 
bol of the Gnostic sect of the Sethinai, and is a tradi- 
tionally sacred animal because of Christ’s entry into Je- 
rusalem upon an ass. The dark stripe running down its 
back crossed by another at the shoulder was given to it 
because it carried Christ. 

In Greek legend, Midas was asked to judge the better 
flute player in a contest between Pan and Apollo. He 
imprudently judged Pan the winner. Apollo, angered, 
changed the king’s ears into those of an ass to indicate 
his stupidity. Midas and Marsjas were originally prob- 
ably satyrs or sileni (ass-demons or horse-demons) among 
the Thraco-Phrygians where the ass was sanctified and 
sacrificed. The flaying of Marsyas in the story of the 
contest with Apollo, which paralleled the Pan-Apollo 
story, may be an etiological explanation of ass sacrifice. 
In Greco-Roman art Midas and Marsyas became human 
in form. In Macedonian legend Midas caught one of the 
sileni in his rose gardens and Apulcius adopted the 
story saying that eating roses would restore to numan 
form a man changed into an ass. 

In Vcdic mythology an ass drew the chariot of the 
ASvins. Armenians who have unsatisfied claim against 
someone sacrifice an ass at the grave of an ancestor of 
the debtor believing that the soul of the ancestor "'ill be 
transferred to an ass if the claim is not satisfied. 

The ass was associated during the Middle Ages with 
Palm Sunday and Saint Nicholas. An ass was also an 
essential feature of the Feast of Fools. 

The ass was believed to have great curative powers. 
Early writers advised a man stung by a scorpion to sit 
on an ass facing the animal's tail or to whisper in it* 
car, "A scorpion has stung me," and the pain would be 
transferred to the animal. In England hairs taken from 
the cross on the animal’s back were believed to curt 
whooping-cough if hung in a bag around the neck of the 
sufferer. In the Hebrides a child was passed three times 
over the back and under the belly of an ass in the name 


of die Blessed Trinity to prevent die same disease. In die 
Middle Ages fresh asses - dung uas squeezed and smeared 
over die eyes to cure various ailments, and asses' hoofs 
•were bound to a patient’s extremities, right on right, left 
on left, to cure gout. The congealed blood of the animal 
Has used in sulfumigations from which the future was 
foretold. A louon made from an ass was sprinkled on 
insane people to cure them. 

The ass appears as a leading character in numerous 
folktales, fairy tales, and fables in Arabia, Belgium, Brit- 
tany, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt. Estonia, Fin- 
land, France, French Canada, Germany. Greece, Hol- 
land, India, Ireland. Italy, Lapland, Norway, Persia, 
Philippine Islands, Russia, Spain. Sweden, and among 
die Hebrews and American Indians. ,-Esop has 27 fables 
about the ass, and ass fables appear also in the Talmud, 
Fhxdrus, and Bidpai. Many stories arc designed to il- 
lustrate die stupidity of the animal. The Indian tale in 
Katha Sarit Sagara is a good example. A diin ass was 
covered with a panther’s skin by its owner and let loose 
in a neighbor’s corn. People were afraid to drive it away. 
One day a cultivator saw die animal and, bending down, 
started to creep away. The ass, thinking him another ass, 
brayed, giving himself away. 

Few animals are referred to in proverbs as frequendy 
as the ass. Among the most popular say ings and proverbs 
are: To make an ass of oneself (do something foolish): 
The ass waggeth his ears (applied to those who talk 
wisely but have litde learning); Well, Well! honey is not 
for die ass's mouth (persuasion will not convince fools); 
Every ass loves to hear himself bray; Asinus in unguento 
(Laun, ass among perfumes— bull in a china shop); 
Asinus ad lyram (Latin, an ass at the lyre— an awkward 
fellow); Asno con oro, alcanialo lodo (Spanish, an ass 
laden with gold overtakes everything— a rich fool is 
thought wise); Anc charge de reliques (French, an ass 
laden with relics, applied to a person who gives himself 
airs when he acquires a litde authority), [sph] 

Ass, Feast of die A festival popular in northern France 
during the Middle Ages, held on Jan. 14 to commemo- 
rate the flight of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus into Egypt. 
Originally a girl carrying a baby and seated on an ass 
was led dirough the streets to a church where mass was 
said. The festival degenerated into a farce wliich in 
Beauvais fell so low that an ass Has led to a table in the 
church and given food and drink while a burlesqued 
vesper service was conducted. The people and clergy 
dien danced around the animal imitating its braying. A 
presentation of farces followed outside the church and 
the mad affair ended with a midnight mass at the con- 
clusion of which the priest brayed three times. The feast 
was suppressed by the Church in the 15th century but 
did not entirely disappear until much later. 

Assassin A member of an Oriental sect of fanatics 
whose religion was a mixture of Mohammedanism and 
Magianism. The order Has founded in Persia at the end 
of the 11th century by Hasan-ben-Sabbah, and is still 
represented in India by the Khojas. Assassins were skep- 
tical of the existence of God and believed that the world 
of tire mind came into existence first, then the soul, 
finally the rest of creation. At death, man’s soul rejoins 
the universal soul. It is imprisoned in the body only to 
execute the orders of the imam and if it quits the body 
while obeying, it is carried to the upper world. If it dis- 
obeys, it falls into darkness. 


This belief made the faithful disciples willing to 
form any deed without question and without for Tyl 
assassinations for which the sect was famous 
mitted at first to wipe out its persecutors. Later th 
Here committed for anyone Hilling to pay for the 
ice. Assassins were trained for assassination. Thev v " 
taught foreign languages, the ceremonies of forei-e, ^ 
ligions, and how to adopt and maintain disemhes \ 
order to win the confidence of their intended sinia. 
They were widely feared, especially because they struck 
when and where least expected. The name of the sea is 
derived from the Arabic Hashshashin, hashish-eate-v 
given to them because it was suspected that thev intoxi' 
cated themselves with hashish before attackin', y 
eneinv. See Old Man of the Mountain. 

Astarte, Ashtart, or Aslitoreth The mother goddess of 
Iiicrnicia; deity of sexual activity, fertility, materaitr 
and war, erroneously identified as a moon goddess, sy'j 
is shown with horns in Phtrnician art, but these horns 
were the horns of a cow (fertility) and not those of the 
moon. In Stimeria the mother goddess was called Inanm, 
in Armenia Anahita, in Phrygia Cybele, in Babvlonia 
Ishtar, in the Bible Aslitoreth, and in North Africa 
Tanitli or Dido. In southern Arabia Athtar, a masculine 
deity, was the result of the bifurcation of Astarte, the 
feminine half being called Shams. The worship of the 
masculine Athtar spread to Abyssinia where he was 
known as Astar. The Biblical Ashtaroth is a plural, lie 
Baalim, and refers to "goddesses” in general, as Baalim 
does to the heathen gods. 

In primitive worship fruits of the earth, newborn ani- 
mals, and first-born children were sacrificed in order to 
increase fertility. Astarte was worshipped by the Israel- 
ites after the conquest of Canaan (Judg. ii, IS; x, 6; I 
Sam. vii, 3; xii, 10). The Philistines also adopted the cult 
of Astarte. The cult spread from the Phoenicians to the 
Greeks and Romans, reached Malta and Sicily and the 
British Isles. This cult seems not to have spread into 
Syria because of the strength there of Atargatis, the 
Syrian aspect of the mother goddess. Astarte has been 
identified with the Egyptian Hathor, Greek Aphrodite, 
Norse Freya, Irish Danu, and Hindu Indrani— all fer- 
tility deities. 

The gazelle (at Mecca) and dove (at Eryx) were sacred 
to her as was the myrtle. At Arbela she was represented 
as robed in flames, armed with sword and bow. In 
Assyrian-Babylonian art she is pictured caressing or 
blessing a child held in her left hand. See IsilTAK. 

aster (from Greek aster, star) The flower has alirzys 
been associated with the stars and with astrologers who 
class it as an herb of Venus. 

In Greece the aster, when burnt, would drive away 
serpents. The Romans used wreaths of the flowers to 
deck the altars of the gods. In much of Europe and the 
United Slates, the aster, like tire daisy, is used in love 
divination. In China a wine made from the fermented 
stems and leaves of the aster is a delicacy, drunk espe- 
cially on the ninth day of the ninth moon. Once Fei 
Ch’ang-fang of the Han dynasty adv ised a follower to go 
to the hills to drink aster-scented wine and to fly kites 
on this day. Upon returning home he found his domestic 
animals dead and realized that he might have met a 
similar fate. According to the Feng Su Chi the people 
living in the Li district live to be 120 or 130 yean old 



tKxauttf the)' drink water flavored by the asters growing 
cn the surrounding hills. 

The Chippewa Indians smoke the dried, powdered 
rs<i: of a saricty of aster (Aster punicrits I..) to attract 
pntc. The smell of the smoke is believed to resemble 
that of a deer's hoof and deer come toward a hunter 
when the plant is smoked. Sec Hi At- stunusn. 

avtragalomancy Disination by means of small bones, 

di as vertebra:: an ancient and almost uniscrsal cus- 

lom. The francs arc lettered and drawn from a mixed 
group haphazardly. The letters gisc the spelling, ana- 
gram. or general clue to the desired message. The use of 
more generalized forms, such as hone or wood cubes or 
lxmc cslindcrs, is believed by some to have gisen rise to 
games of chance. 

astrology The science of the stars, anciently equiva- 
lent to astronomy, svhich was known as natural astrol- 
ogy, and toed to predict such natural events as eclipses, 
the elate of Easter, and meteorological phenomena. By 
the I7lh century the term became limited to another 
brunch of the study, judicial or mundane astrology, 
which purports to trace the influence of the heavenly 
txxlics (stars, planets, sun, moon, etc.) on the course and 
rsents of human life. This star-divination, or astro- 
mancy. attempts to determine, usually by the configura- 
tion of the heavens at the time of a crucial event, like 
birth, the future destiny and general temperament of 

men. Astrology is one of the most ancient forms of 
disination. and prevailed among the nations of the East 
(Egypt. Chaldea, India, China) at the very dawn of 
history. The Jews became much addicted to it after the 
Captisity. It spread into the West and to Rome about 
the Itegitming of the Christian Era. Astrologers played 
an imjxirtant part at Rome, where they were called 
Chaldeans and '•mathematicians"; and though often 
banished by the Senate and emperors under pain of 
death and otherwise persecuted, they continued to hold 
their giound. In Europe, during the Middle Ages, espe- 
cially in the 1-ltli and 15th centuries, astrology became 
the master study to which practically all other fields of 
imestigntion were correlated and subordinated. With 
the rise and acceptance of modern astronomy after Gali- 
leo and Kepler, astrology fell more and more into dis- 
credit in the Western world. Relief in its findings still 
has many adherents in the West and almost every part 
of the world. 

In its most primitive form, astrology may have arisen 
from the observable connection between the positions of 
the stats in the heavens and the seasonal changes on 
earth, from this to a belief in the causal influence of 
the stats, not only upon natural phenomena, but also 
ii^n man himself, is not a far step. One versed in the 
lore of stats then becomes helpful to the economic life 
of thr community, and to the personal planning and 
wrlbltcittg of the individual. Rulers, down to Hitler, 
have had their personal asttologcrs. The astrologer as a 
diviner eventually uses supplementary means of deter- 
mination. and we find close connection between astrol- 
ogy on the one band, and Chinese gcomancy. Near 
laurtn hepatmeopy. Chinese and Japanese tortoise shell 
divination, ami Gipsy palmistry on the other. For ex- 
ample. the names of the mounts of the hand in chiro- 
mancy retain their planetary significance, and their 
prominence is used by the palm-reader to ascertain the 
juntH’sed temperament of the subject. Aside from the 

Jewish and Arabic belief that every man his biv own per- 
sonal star in the heavens, astrology holds that the 
ascendancy of a specific planet at a critical moment de- 
termines the personality of the petvon. as for example 
the influence of Metcury giving a mercurial tempera- 
ment; Jupiter, a jovial, etc. Ky the casting of an exact 
horoscope in gcnethliac astrology, the astrologer makes 
Iris determination. The methods of horoscope-casting arc 
traditional and the interactions of the various planetary 
signs have become more or less fixes! in meaning. 

Relief in astrology is bnscti on the geocentric idea of 
the universe, since the influence of the heavens is inward 
upon the earth. When the Copernican theory and mod- 
em astronomy took over what had been natural astrol- 
ogy, the basis ami lienee the validity of judicial astrology 
was destroyed. Nevertheless, popular magazines on as- 
trology continue to thrive in the fifth tlcrade of the 
twentieth century, one periotiicol alone in the United 
States having a monthly circulation of perhaps a quarter 
of a million copies. 

asura In early Vedic mythology, the supreme spirit: 
an epithet meaning god. applied especially to Varuna. 
In the Rr&hmanat and U ftanishods it vs.iv usee! to mean 
the opposite of demons or enemies of rite gods (hut not 
of mankind). The asnras arc the descendants of Praj.'ipati 
and for a time divided the world with their younger 
brothers, the gods or suras. But they waged war with 
the gods frequently until they were slain by Imlra with 
the aid of Vishnu <or hv another god). The asnras dwell 
in the caverns of Mount Mem, below the level of the sea. 
in the four towns of Shining. Startasscl. Deep, and 
Golden, and they leave their abysses only to battle the 
inhabitants of Merit. 

In the epics, the asnras (the name is here used inter- 
changeably with Dallas a and Daitya) arc still regarded as 
foes of the gods, but some of them arc spoken of as 
friends and proteges of the gods. Stikra, descendant of 
Rhrigu, is their teacher and guide; their abode, lVitfila, 
is a magnificent dwelling surpassing heaven in its splen- 
dor. In popular story, the asnras arc sometimes heroes. 
When they are pictured as contending with the gods, 
however, they revert to their Vedic character of demons 
able to become invisible and to commit deeds of vio- 
lence. Compare amtva; naga. 

Asvamedha or Aswa medha The horse sacrifice, one of 
the most important and impressive Indian ceremonies 
of Vedic times. Two hymns for this ceremonial appear in 
the Rig-Vtda. Horse sacrifices arc principal events in 
both the Ivurnuyana and the Mahibhilrata. Originally 
the sacrifice was perhaps a fcrnlitv ritual, in which the 
king’s wives passed the night with the sacrificed horse, 
the chief wife performing certain specific and formal 
rites. Later, the ceremony was extended and became a 
ritual statement of the sovereignty and aspirations of 
great kings. In the spring, usually, a horse was chosen, 
symbolically tethered to the post of sacrifice, and then 
released to roam at will for a year. Tltc hoisc was fol- 
lowed by a representation of nobles to guard it from 
harm or defilement. If the horse traveled into the ter- 
ritory of another king, the latter could submit to the 
invasion and thus tacitly acknowledge the owner of the 
horse as his superior, or he could fight, as many did. 

During the period of the svandering of the horse, the 
population at home took part in cercmonirs of celebra- 
tion and preparation. At the end of the year, the horse 


returned and was sacrificed in a three-day ceremony, 
along with a lie-goat and, in inter forms of the cere- 
mony, with many other animals. The horse was first 
ornamentally dressed, anointed and adorned, by the 
three queens of highest rank. Then he was smothered 
with robes, before and after which act riddles were 
asked the priests by other priests and the women by tile 
priests. The chief queen performed the ritual act under 
the robes, thus taking to herself the horse’s power of 
fertility. The horse was then cut up, roasted, and of- 
fered to Prajapati, after which came the ceremony to 
purify the sacrificcr, accompanied by the giving of gifts 
to the priests. 

While vestiges of the earlier fertility ceremony arc 
found in the later ritual, especially in the deliberate 
obscenity of some of its verbiage, essentially the strength 
and quickness of the horse was transmitted to the king 
by this later form of the ceremonial. So virtuous did the 
king become through tile rite that it was believed the 
completion of a hundred such sacrifices would enable 
him to overthrow Indra and become the ruler of the 
gods. There is the additional idea of expiation or atone- 
ment in the sacrifice: the ASvamedha performed by 
Yudhishthira on the advice of Vyasa in the Mnhnbhdrata 
was meant to atone for the wars he had caused. Brahma 
is said to have made ten such sacrifices at the Dafaftncdh 
Ghat in Benares, one of the principal places of pil- 
grimage in that city. 

ASvins or Aswins In Vcdic mythology, twin cosmic 
gods variously deities of the dawn, of heaven and earth, 
of day and night, of the sun and moon, the morning and 
evening stars, twilight (one half light, the other half 
dark), or personifications of the two luminous rays sup- 
posed to precede the break of day. They arc also divine 
physicians, the sons of Dyaus or of Sfirya (the sun) or 
Savitri (the activity of the sun), by the nymph Saiijiia. 
They arc the horsemen whose golden chariot, drawn by 
horses, a bird, an ass, or a buffalo, precedes Ushfis (the 
dawn) who is sometimes considered their sister, some- 
times their wife. In other parts of the Ilig-Vcda their 
joint wife is Surya or they help Soma, the moon, to win 
Sfirya, and lose one chariot-wheel in the process. 

In Brfihman mythology, they arc no longer cosmic 
deities, but physician gods of great kindness and per- 
sonal beauty, often given the epithets of Nasatya and 
Dasra. In the MahSbhurata they rejuvenated Chyavana 
for which they were given a share of soma. They re- 
stored the eyesight of Upamanyu and furnished Vispala 
with an iron leg. They were the fathers of the youngest 
Pandit princes, Sahadeva and Nakula. In the Jifimiiyana 
they fathered the monkeys Dvivida and Mainda. See 
Dioscuri; Twins. 

asylum Any place of shelter and refuge where the 
refugee is inviolate by virtue of the place itself. Among 
almost all peoples, ancient and contemporary, places 
sacred to them, and certain personages or objects re- 
garded as sacred afford asylum to tile hunted. Tile right 
of asylum is the right of a specific place, person, or ob- 
ject to afford such protection because of its inherent 
holiness. All over the world altars, temples, churches, 
tombs, the king's house, the king’s person, the individual 
family hearth and home itself were (or are) sacred places 
where no blood can be spilled. The holy gloves of many 
people protect plants, animals, and criminals alike. 

— ; 

Among some peoples just taking refuge with or 

touching, a woman affords asylum, because of'thc 
tcrious power believed to be inherent in the female ^ 

Among the ancient Hebrews all altars afforded asd? 
to all fugitives except murderers. Later the ri»ht 
asylum was transferred from the local altars to s ° x ° 
tain cities, three on either side of Jordan. Even the iflt 
birds were not driven from the altars. ’’The sparrow hail 
found her a house and the swallow a nest for hen a 
where she may lay her young, even thine altars, o I ord 
of hosts” (Ps. 8-1). The Greeks and ancient Syrians also 
regarded birds nesting in holy places as untouchable. 
The sparrows of /Esculapius in Athens, for instance, and 
the pigeons of an early Syrian goddess in Hicrapoli’s are 
often mentioned. 

In ancient Greece all temples and altars were asylums- 
no person who put himself under the protection of a 
deity could be taken; no act of violence to remove him 
from the deity’s presence could be enacted, in the belief 
that the deity would punish violators of the sacred place. 
Fugitives were usually runaway slaves or criminals flee- 
ing either arrest or trial. Abuses of the privilege of sanc- 
tuary became so numerous and extreme that eventually 
the right of sanctuary was limited only to certain tem- 
ples. The Romans (under Tiberius) reduced even this 
number; but statues of Roman emperors and eagles of 
the legions were asylums. With the Christian era right 
of asylum was transferred to the churches. 

In medieval England a criminal could take refuge in 
a church, but after dO days he was starr ed out. Usually 
he was given his choice between trial and exile. Henry 
VIII designated certain cities as places of permanent 
refuge, each harboring no more than 20 refugees, each 
of whom wore an identifying badge. Murderers, rapeis, 
highway robbers, and committers of arson were denied 
sanctuary. In the reign of James I the right of asylum 
to fugitives from justice was legally abolished but the 
practice continued well into the reign of George I. In 
Spain it continued into the 19th century. Even today 
Fortugal grants asylum to alien fugitives who would be 
killed if delivered up. 

Typical of the observance of asylum and its ubiquity 
are the following: In New Guinea it is believed that the 
arms and legs will shrivel of anyone who lays hands on 
a fugitive within a temple. The big tree inhabited by the 
Samoan god Vave gives refuge even to murderers, al- 
though they have eventually to stand trial. In Hawaii, 
on the other hand, the criminal who takes refuge with 
the god Keavc walks home safely in three days’ time 
with the aura of divinity insuring his immunity from 
arrest. In Usambara a murderer is safe if he can toudi 
the person of the king; in Madagascar, if he can but see 
the king. Hence in West Africa criminals are gagged lest 
they call on the king’s name, or knives arc pushed 
through their cheeks to hold down the tongue. The 
Ashanti slave goes free who flees to the temple and falls 
upon the fetish. Among the Marutse a criminal escapes 
punishment if he can evade his pursuers long enough to 
reach and throw himself upon the king's sacred drums. 

Among many primitive peoples the house of a king 
or chief, priest or magician affords asylum. The cou- 
pling of the sanctity of the home with the idea of 
asylum is w-idespread in Europe. 

The rights of asylum have dwindled in proportion to 
the spread of civic justice. International law- controls the 



rights of neutral powers to harbor belligerent armies. 
The time limit for the stay of belligerent ships in neu- 
tral harbors is usually 24 hours. In South America em- 
bassies, legations and consulates are still regarded as 

asynjur The goddesses collectively of the ancient 
Teutonic pantheon. They belong to the tesir and Frigga 
is the chief among them. 

Ataensic Sky Woman, the First Mother of Huron 
mythology: called Eagentci by the Seneca. She fell to 
earth from heaven, but was caught on the wings of 
waterbirds and borne safely to the earth. While this was 
going on Muskrat dove through the waters to find 
oelt-da (earth); and this he placed on Turtle’s back. 
Ataensic bore twins, the Doyadano, Good and Evil, and 
then died. Hahgwehdiyu (Good) shaped the sky with the 
palm of his hand, and created the sun from his mother's 
face. Hahgwehdaetgah (Evil) set darkness in the west. 
Then Hahgwehdiyu made the moon and stars from the 
breast of Ataensic, to lighten the dark, and gave her 
body back to the earth. From it sprang all the living 
ones. In some variants of this myth Ataensic gave birth 
to a daughter, who became impregnated by the wind 
and died giving birth to the twins, who were left to the 
care of their grandmother, Ataensic, or Sky Woman. 

Ataguju The creator in the mythology of the Hua- 
machuco Indians of Peru, [am] 

Atahen Literally, man: the first man, and culture hero 
of the coastal Juaneno Indians of California. See Chin- 

Atalanta In Greek (Arcadian) legend, the daughter of 
Iasus and Clymene, exposed by her father and suckled 
by a she-bear. She became a famous huntress. She slew 
the Centaurs who pursued her, participated in the Caly- 
donian hunt, took part in the games in honor of Pelias, 
and may have gone along with the Argonautic expedi- 
tion. Her father recognized her and urged her to marry. 
She agreed on condition that each suitor must contend 
with her in a foot race, death being the penalty for de- 
feat, her hand the prize. Meilanion won by throwing 
out three golden apples given to him by Aphrodite. 
Atalanta stopped to pick them up, permitting her suitor 
to win. She was the mother of Parthenopams. She and 
Meilanion were metamorphosed into lions after dis- 
pleasing Zeus. In Bceotian legend, she was the daughter 
of Schcenus, her successful suitor was Hippomenes, and 
they were metamorphosed into lions by Cybele. 

Atar or Atarsh (Persian Adar) In Zoroastrianism, the 
fire god, son of Ahura Mazda and conqueror of the evil 
dragon Azi Dahaka; the chief of the yazatas or Zoroas- 
trian angels. Atar, who is sometimes classed as an arch- 
angel or Amesha Spenta, is a personification (imperfect) 
of fire. In the Avesta, five kinds of fire are recognized, 
the Bahram, the spark of life in the human body, the 
fire contained in wood, the fire of lightning, and the fire 
in heaven. 

Atargatis or Atar A goddess of fertility worshipped 
by the Syrians. Fishes and doves were sacred to her, and 
her temple at Hierapolis, the largest and richest in 
Syria, included a pond of sacred fish. Lucian, in his 
treatise, tie Dea Syria, describes her cult and calls her 
Hera. In the inner temple at Hierapolis were three 

golden images, the first that of Atargatis, the others 
probably Hadad and Attis. The idol of Atargatis had 
attributes of Hera, Athene, Aphrodite, Rhea, Artemis, 
Selene, Nemesis, and the Moine. 

Atargatis has been frequently identified as a local 
form of the Semitic goddess Ishtar-Astarte. Like Astarte, 
she was a goddess of fertility and water. 'Wherever the 
worship of Astarte went, that of Atargatis seemed to 
have followed. She is referred to in the Apocrypha (I 
Macc. v, 24; II Macc. xii, 26). Her chief temple in Pales- 
tine was at Ascalon. In her temple at Carnaim, Judah 
Maccabeus slew the inhabitants who had fled there for 
refuge and then burned the temple. Ctesias called her 
Derceto and the Romans knew her as Dea Syria. 

Ate In early Greek mythology, the goddess of mis- 
chief, who incited men to mime. She was the daughter 
of Zeus and Eris, but was driven out of heaven for creat- 
ing discord among the gods. In later mythology, she be- 
came an avenging spirit, somewhat akin to the Erinves. 

Atea Literally, Vast-Expanse, sometimes translated 
Light: the atmosphere, sky god, and male parent of 
Polynesian mythology. In the great creation chants of 
Tahitian, Tuamotuan, Marquesan, and other Poly- 
nesian mythology, Atea is described as having been "ex- 
tended” by means of the pillars which Ta’aroa placed 
under the vast expanse. At this time Ta’aroa also in- 
voked a great spirit to pervade Atea. Then when Ta’aroa 
called out “Who is above?” Atea answered "I, Atea, the 
moving space, the sky-space.” In Tuamotuan mythology, 
Atea was specifically a shapeless being molded into 
beauty by Vahine Nautahu (Enchantress Woman). His 
wife was named Fakahotu (in some islands, the Marque- 
sas, for instance, Atanua or Dawn). From their union 
were bom sons and daughters, the gods (handsome off- 
spring), then birds, butterflies, and creeping things (com- 
mon offspring). 

The creation chants describe Atea’s long struggle 
with Tane, in which he is finally killed; but Atea’s 
power (mana) could not die. It still prevails in the is- 
lands. The creation chants also tell the circumstances 
of Atea’s and Fakahotu’s exchange of sex. All that was 
masculine in Fakahotu was transferred to Atea; all that 
was feminine in Atea was transferred to Fakahotu. By 
this strengthening of the male and female in each, more 
and mightier gods were born. In the story of the at- 
tempt to raise the sky, two gods equipped with wonder- 
ful adzes journeyed to Atea, thinking to chip him off 
and prop him up with rocks. But when they beheld the 
grandeur of Atea they were afraid; they put the adzes 
back in the basket and fled. So there are still no artisans 
who can raise Atea, separate sky from earth. 

It is a common practice in the Society Islands to invoke 
Atea (along with Tane and Ta’aroa) during the first 
bathing of a newborn royal infant “to render sensitive 
the skin of the child.” 

New Zealanders call this deity Rangi, or Sky Father; 
among the Tuamotuans he is Rangi-Atea. In the So- 
ciety Islands he is Te Tumu, the Source, and the al- 
ternate name of Fakahotu is Papa. In Hawaii Atea is 
known as Wakea, and his wife is Papa. 

Atliarva-Veda One of the four collections of hymns, 
prayers, and liturgical formula: which constitute the 
Vedas, the most sacred literature of the Hindus. This is 
the latest of the Vedas and probably of popular rather 


than priestly origin. It deals with the hostile powers 
which the sorcerer seeks to win over by flattery or to 
drive away by imprecations and has nothing to do with 
the sacrificial ceremony of the three other Vedas. 

The Atharva-Veda consists of twenty books containing 
about 730 hymns. Of these the first six books probably 
formed the nucleus to which additions were gradually 
made. Many of its hostile spells are intended as reme- 
dies for a number of diseases and are to be used with 
various herbs. Others are charms invoking the dispellers 
of demons such as water, fire, and healing plants; charms 
for the prosperity of the fields and flocks, for harmony, 
for happiness in love and marriage. Among the hostile 
spells are imprecations against rivals and spells for the 
expiation of sins or moral transgressions. Some spells 
are for use in securing power, victory, or fame for the 

The Atharva-Veda, in conjunction with the Rtg-Vcda, 
is the oldest source of information on early Aryan cul- 
ture, mythology, and religion. See Veda. 

Athena, Athene, Athenaia, Athana, or Atlienaic In 
Greek religion, the goddess of wisdom, of the arts and 
sciences, and of war; the virgin goddess. As a goddess of 
wisdom she was the protectress and preserver of the 
state, of social institutions and of everything which con- 
tributes to the strength and prosperity of the state such 
as agriculture, industry, and inventions. In this role she 
was the inventor of the plow- and rake and the creator of 
the olive tree. She also taught men to yoke oxen to the 
plow and how to tame horses with the bridle. She is 
credited with the invention of numbers, the flute, the 
chariot, navigation, and nearly ever)' kind of work in 
which women are employed as well as the arts of ship- 
building, goldsmithing, and shoemaking. She was cele- 
brated with Hephxstus as the patron of the useful and 
elegant arts. As a war goddess Athena represented 
prudence and intelligence in contrast to Ares, the per- 
sonification of brute force and rashness. As the patron 
goddess of the state she was the protectress of the 
phratries or clans and played an important part in the 
development of legal ideas. She was believed to have in- 
stituted the court of Areopagus. 

Athena may have been a Minoan-Mycen.xan goddess 
adopted by the Aryan invaders of Greece. Attempts have 
been made to identify her with the lightning and thun- 
der but there is no proof that she teas ever a cosmo- 
logical goddess. In early Hellenic history she was the 
patron deity of cities, especially of Athens where she was 
one of the three most highly honored gods, the others 
being Zeus and Apollo. There as Athene Parthenos she 
represented the artistic and literary genius of the people. 
Her temple was the Parthenon on the Acropolis. 

With the establishment of the Macedonian Empire, 
Athena lost her position as goddess of a civic empire but 
remained the Madonna to whose care Athenian boy- 
athletes and marriageable girls were dedicated. She was 
worshipped in all parts of Greece and in Rhodes. 

In Greco-Egyptian religion she was worshipped at 
Sais and at Oxyrhynchus she was identified with the 
local goddess Thoeris (Taurt). At Delphi as Athena 
Pronaia or Pronoia she was associated with the amphic- 
tyonic deities Apollo, Leto, and Artemis. 

Her epithets are numerous and attest to the variety of 
her powers and interests. As Optiletis, Oxyderces, and 
Ophthalmitis she was gifted with keenness of sight and 

a powerful intellect. As Athenaia she was the son, 
patron of Athens; as Itonia she was the goddp ^ 
Coronea; while at Sparta she teas Agomia, p rej id ° f 
over the popular assemblies. She was also worship, 2 
there as Athena Chalcia-cus of the Brazen House a 
A reia she was a goddess of rear; as Agraulos, an a <ni \ 
tural deity. As Alea she was the light or warmth in A 
cadia; while as Apaturia and Phratria she was the M 
dess of the Athenian clans. The epithets Chalinitis fit 
bridler), Damasippus (horse-taming), and Hippij refcr ' 
her as the goddess of war horses. As ETgane she was th. 
goddess of industry; as Curotrophus, the nurturer f 
children; as Polias, the goddess of the city; and as Buli° 
the goddess of the council. Athena Eoarmia, the or! 
yoker, was worshipped in Bccotia while Athena Hyritfi 
the health goddess, was associated with Asklepios at 
Athens. As Nike or Nikephoros Athena was the goddess 
of victory and teas represented in statues as holding an 
image of Nike in her outstretched hand. As Athena 
Mechanitis she was the discoverer of devices and as 
Athena Promachus, the goddess who fights in front. Her 
poetic epithet of Pallas or Pallas Athene may have re- 
sulted from the myth of her slaying the giant Pallas in 
the battle betsveen the gods and giants. 

A trace of totemism is seen in the name Glaucopis, or 
owl, which may have been worshipped earlier as a 
god and which, as so often happened, became the com- 
panion of the goddess who succeeded it. The epithets 
Coryphasia (head or summit), Acria (topmost) and Tri- 
togenis (for the nymph of Lake Tritonis) may have been 
applied to her because of the myths explaining her birth. 

Her most celebrated festival was the Panathenaa 
which featured a torch race and a regatta. Other festivals 
held in her honor included the Sdrophoria with a 
procession from the Acropolis to the village of Scirnn 
at the height of the summer to entreat the goddess to 
prevent great heat; the Chalccia or feast of smiths; the 
Plynteria and Callunteria, the feasts of washing and 
adorning during which her wooden image in the Erech- 
theum was cleaned and adorned; and the Arrhephoria 
or Erreplioria during which two maidens began weaving 
the new pepla made each year for her statue. 

Cows, bulls, and rams were usually sacrificed to 
Athena. She was represented as a woman of severe 
beauty carrying a lance, helmet, and shield on svhich 
was depicted the Gorgon’s head. Her attributes were the 
owl, serpent, cock, crow-, and mgis. The images of her 
which guarded the heights of Athens, called Palladia, 
represented her with shield uplifted, brandishing her 
spear to keep off the foe. 

Athena was identified with the Egyptian Isis, the 
Vedic Ushas, with the Roman Minerva, and sometimes 
with the Persian Anahita. 

In Greek mythology, she was the daughter of Zeus, 
bom from his forehead. According to Hesiod, Metis was 
her mother but Zeus, on the advice of Ge and Uranus, 
fearing the birth of a son who would be greater than he, 
tricked Metis into changing herself into a fly and then 
swallowed her, afterwards giving birth to Athena him- 
self. According to Pindar, Hephastus split the head oi 
Zeus with his ax and Athena sprang forth. Athena has 
also been regarded as the daughter of the winged giant 
Pallas whom she afterwards killed because he attempted 
to violate her chastity. Another tradition calls her the 
daughter of Poseidon and the nymph Triton or Tritonis 


Atnatu’s celestial bull-roarer (thunder). Atnatu per- 
forms sacred services and punishes mortals who do not 
sound the bull-roarer at initiation ceremonies. 

Aton or Aten An Egyptian god of the solar disk: sym- 
bolized by the disk with rays ending in human hands. 
During the reign of Amenhctep IV, this god became 
officially the one god of Egypt; Amcnhetep took the 
name Ikhnaton, meaning "splendor of Aton”; great tem- 
ples of the god existed at Thebes and Memphis. This 
attempt at reducing the power of the priests of Amen 
failed however, and after they recaptured their original 
hold on the state religion from Ikhnaton, the worship 
of Aton died out completely in the land and was never 
revived. One interesting conjecture holds that Moses was 
a priest of Aton who was forced to leave Egypt and car- 
ried the monotheistic belief into the Arabian desert 
where it became attached to Jahweh, the principal god 
of the desert region. Aton was a universal god, the 
source and embodiment of all, the friend of the op- 
pressed, the comforter of the ailing, the fountain of 

Atreus In Greek legend, the son of Pelops and Hippo- 
damia; father of Agamemnon and Mcnelaits; king of 
Myccn.x'. His wife Trope was seduced by Thyestcs, his 
younger brother, who was consequently banished. Thy- 
estes sent Pleisthencs, Atreus' son, to kill his father 
by a ruse, but Atreus unwittingly slew his own son. For 
revenge he killed three sons of Thyestcs and served 
them to their father at a banquet. Thyestcs cursed his 
brother and departed. Later, Atreus was slain by 
zEgisthus, son of Thyestcs. 

Attis or Atys In Greek and Roman religion, a Phrygian 
god of vegetation, always worshipped in connection with 
the Great Mother. Attis was either of Semitic origin or 
was influenced by Semitic religion. His cult, centralized 
in Phrygia and Lydia, spread to Greece and finally 
throughout the Roman Empire. 

His worship, characterized by frenzied orgies, was 
carried to Rome after the worship of Cybclc had been 
adopted by the Romans in 204 B.C. Each year on March 
22 a pine tree was cut and brought into the sanctuary of 
Cybele where it was swathed in woolen bands, decked 
with violets; an effigy of a young man (Attis) was tied 
to it. March 24 was known as the Day of Blood, for on 
this day the ceremonies reached their peak. They were 
characterized by blood-letting, the barbaric music of 
flutes and cymbals, and the whirling contortions of the 
lesser priesthood, who in a frenzy of excitement slashed 
themselves to bespatter the altar and the sacred tree 
with their blood. Probably it was on this day that they 
performed the act of self-emasculation which was an es- 
sential part of the cult. On the next day the resurrection 
of Attis was celebrated in the form of a licentious car- 

March 26 was a day of repose ~nd the festival closed 
on March 27 with a procession 1 .,ing the image of the 
goddess Cybele to the Almo Ri\ _r where the wagon and 
image were bathed. 

According to one legr'd Attis fa, the son of Cybele; 
in another he was th ;,an of Nana, daughter of a river- 
god, who was impregnated by an almond (pomegran- 
ate). Attis was loved by the hermaphroditic monster 
Agdistis, but planned to marry la, daughter of Midas. 
Agdistis struck the wedding party with madness, and 


Attis castrated himself under a pine tree. Ia com ■ 
suicide. From the blood of Attis sprang the violet""'!! 
Zeus allowed the body to remain undecayed, the f !™ 
nails to grow, and the little finger to move. ln °“' 

In another legend Attis was put to death became 
his love for Cybele, daughter of Meion, king ot Pi m ■ 
and Lydia. The plague and famine which folloiS 
drove the Phrygians to institute the worship of Attis 
and Cybele. In a Lydian version of the story Attis 
killed by a boar. 

atua or otua In Polynesian belief, a spirit; any super- 
natural being, whether animistic, ancestral, or human 
Some persons were recognized as atua while yet alise 
for example priestesses of Pole in Hawaii who embodied 
the goddess and lived in seclusion on the volcanoes 
where she manifested herself. Atuas were of great sa- 
crcdness; among the Maori, mention even of the name 
of some atuas required many precautions. As in all 
animistic belief, atuas resided in and displayed them- 
selves in the various natural phenomena: animals, fish 
wind, rain, mountains, forests, plants, even in war and 
songs and dances. The power of a chief derived from 
the atua of an ancestor of the tribe. 

Audhumln or Audhumbla In Scandinavian mythol- 
ogy', the monstrous cow, formed in Ginnungagap by the 
cold from Nifihcim and the heat from Muspellsheim. 
She sustained the first giant, Ymir, with her four 
streams of milk and herself fed from the salty hoar- 
frost, licking it into the being, Buri, whose son Bor was 
the father of the gods Odin, Vili, and Ve. 

Augean stables In Greek legend, the stables of Augeas, 
containing 3000 oxen, which had not been cleaned for 
30 years. Hercules’ fifth task, set by Euryslheus, teas to 
clean these stables. This was accomplished in the re- 
quired single day by turning two rivers through them. 
Augeas then reneged on the pledge of a tenth of his 
herds to Hercules, exiling his own son Phyleus who had 
witnessed the feat and sided against him. Later Hercules 
slew Augeas. 

In a New Zealand legend, Rupe, one of the younger 
Mauis, performed a similar task, cleaning the debris- 
filled courtyard of Rchua’s house. 

augurs Members of a priestly class whose duty it is to 
read and interpret omens, particularly with ceremonial 
observances. There have been several such groups; the 
best known were in Mexico, Peru, and Rome. The 
Roman augurs belonged to one of the four great priestly 
colleges. They are first recorded in Numa's time, but 
were much more ancient. Their number varied from 
three or four in early times to 16 under Julius Cmsar. 
The augurs had great political power, as they were able 
to suspend certain public affairs by the unchallengeable 
declaration of an unfavorable omen. The lituus (a bent 
staff without knots) and the trabca (toga with scarlet 
stripes and purple border) were the insignia of office. 
The augur, accompanied by a magistrate, marked with 
his stall a templum both on the ground and in the sky 
at midnight. He then sat in a tent within the templum 
and watched for signs. Signs in the east, usually on the 
left, were considered favorable; those on the other hand 

augury Divination from the flight or song of birds 
(ornithomancy), or generally from omens such as light- 



ning, thunder, or the movements of animals, usually 
under formal, ceremonial conditions (compare augurs): 
a practice both ancient and widespread, from Homeric 
Greece and ancient India to modem Melanesia and 
Africa. Strictly speaking, augury should be limited to 
the observation of auspices (Latin avis, bird, and specia, 
view) but commonly it is applied to divination in gen- 
eral, since the Roman augurs themselves used other 
omens than those from birds. The most usual omen 
birds are the crow or raven, and the hawk or eagle. 
Augury may have arisen from the belief that birds, in- 
habitants of the heavens, partake therefore of the di- 
vine; or it may spring from a totemistic linking between 
the bird or animal and the person affected. The eagle 
and serpent emblem in Mexico’s coat of arms mirrors 
the legend of the founding of Mexico City in 1325, 
when a group of Nahuas saw the two on the shores of 
the lake and accepted this as a good omen for the estab- 
lishing of the city there. 

auld In the religion of the Quechua of Peru, a moun- 
tain spirit. It is believed in the Peruvian Andes that 
mountain peaks are inhabited by these spirits and con- 
tain concealed haciendas equipped with herds of live- 
stock guarded by the servants of the aukis. These serv- 
ants include the vicunas which are the spirit's llamas, 
the condors (his chickens) and Ccoa (his cat, the most 
feared of his servants). 

The aukis are called upon by sorcerers to help in cur- 
ing, and the superior sorcerers (the alto misayoc) con- 
verse with the aukis while divining. In Kauri curing is 
performed by a brujo or curer who enters the sickroom 
which contains coca, sugar, a bottle of aguardiente, a 
whip, and 20 centavos. The brujo darkens the room and 
places a piece of 1111110 paper on the floor. He whistles 
three times and the auki enters through the roof and 
settles on the paper. Then follows a conversation con- 
ducted, with the aid of ventriloquism, between the auki 
and the brujo in which the cause and treatment of the 
malady are revealed. The auki then flies out by way of 
the roof, the brujo consumes the coca, etc., takes the 20 
centavos, and leaves. 

Auld Lang Syne A song with words set by Robert 
Bums to an old Scottish folk melody, also known as 
The Miller’s Wedding and The Miller's Daughter. The 
Bums setting, widely popular in English-speaking coun- 
tries, has been adopted as a toast of friendship to be 
sung as a dosing song for sodal gatherings, and at mid- 
night on New Year’s Eve. 

aunga In Melanesian belief, the good part or soul- 
substance of a man, which passes away after death, in 
contrast with the adaro which is the bad part and re- 
mains after death as a ghost. 

Aunt Nancy The Spider: corruption of Anansi in 
Gullah (South Carolina) folktale. See African and New 
World Negro folklore. 

Auriga The Charioteer: a large constellation of the 
northern hemisphere, represented as a young man hold- 
ing a whip in his right hand and carrying Capella, the 
Goat, with her Kids in his left arm. It is believed that 
this concept of the constellation is as old as the ancient 
peoples of the Euphrates. But the early Arabs thought 
of it as a Mule, as did also the Turks. Latin writers, 
Germanicus for instance, identified it with the lame 

Erictlionius who needed a chariot to get around. Others 
identified it with the charioteer of CEnomaus, named 
Myrtilus, others with Hippolytus; others called it the 
Charioteer and Rein-holder. Biblical astronomers have 
likened it to St. Jerome, to the Good Shepherd, and to 
Jacob deceiving Isaac with "the savoury meat of two 
good kids.” 

Aurora Borealis The northern lights: a brilliant radi- 
ance visible only at night in the sky of high northern 
latitudes, usually appearing in streamers varying in 
color from pale yellow’ to blood red, sometimes as an 
arch of light across the heavens. The phenomenon is 
thought to be electrical but many explanations are 
given by the peoples of northern countries. The Eski- 
mos and Tlingit Indians believe that it is the spirits of 
the dead at play and occurs after the death of many 
people; the Saulteaux Indians say that it is the spirits 
of the dead dancing. The Mandans explain the Aurora 
Borealis as an assembly of medicine men and warriors 
of northern nations boiling their prisoners and enemies 
in huge pots. The Makalr Indians believe the phenome- 
non is caused by a race of small Indians cooking seal 
and walrus meat. The Kwakiutl Indians say it is the 
souls of deceased members of a family dancing for those 
living or about to die. 

The Greeks and Romans were familiar with it: Pliny 
thought it due to natural causes but would not deny 
that it might have some connecton with untoward 
events. The Norse explained it in terms of the light 
reflected from the shields of the Valkyries while gather- 
ing the heroes slain in battle. In an Estonian folktale 
the Aurora Borealis is explained as a wedding in the 
sky attended by guests whose sledges and horses emit 
the radiance. In Scotland the phenomenon is used in 
predicting weather. If it appears low on the horizon 
there will be no change; if it is high in the sky stormy 
weather will follow. The Finns believe it to be the souls 
of the dead and the Ostyak say it is the fires kept burn- 
ing by the god of fish, Yeman’gnyem, to show travelers 
the way in winter. 

austerities In the social, moral, and religious life of 
primitive people austerities or acts of discipline, self- 
inflicted or willingly borne, replace the asceticism of 
more advanced peoples. Austerities may be undergone 
for magical purposes, to make life more tolerable, to 
placate the gods, as initiatory ceremonies, or during a 
period of mourning. 

Austerities vary considerably in their extent and na- 
ture, ranging from sacrifice involving property or posses- 
sions to seclusion for a long or short period of time, 
exposure to the elements, flagellation, fasting, or absti- 
nence from specific foods, gashing or cutting the body, 
mutilation of some member of the body, bloodletting, 
making of scars or cicatrices, amputation, circumcision, 
subincision, excision, knocking out or filing of teeth, 
tattooing, and the supreme sacrifice (widows of India) of 
death. These ordeals must be undergone, usually, with- 
out any show of pain, although many of them are so 
rigorous that death often results. 

During adolescence initiation ceremonies, for exam- 
ple, an Indian boy of the Californina tribes of North 
America was stung with nettles until he could not 
move, then subjected to the stinging of ants. After this 
he fasted. 


Initiation into the priesthood in early societies is 
characterized by a severe training involving many aus- 
terities. Since the medicine man usually performs his 
functions while in a state of trance, or ecstasy, it is 
necessary for him to learn how to induce such condi- 
tions. This is frequently done by undergoing austerities. 
The Greenland angakok trainee induces trances by ex- 
cessive fasting. The Guiana novitiate fasts, wanders 
alone in the forest, and drinks tobacco-juice water, to 
attain a state of delirium. After training the abnormal 
state is more easily produced, sometimes spontaneously, 
sometimes by artificial means such as flagellation, fast- 
ing, or the use of narcotics. 

Australian aboriginal mythology Since the 18th cen- 
tury when the English and Dutch first described Aus- 
tralia, it has seemed to the civilized world a natural 
history museum of "living fossils,” primitive types of 
animals, plants, and human beings, preserved through 
isolation and lack of contact with more advanced types 
cither to stimulate development or cause extinction. 
Smallest of the continents, Australia has less than three 
million square miles of desert, bush, and grass fringed 
on the northeast and east by forests of acacia and giant 
eucalyptus. Archaic types of animals include egg-laying 
mammals like the duckbill and spiny anteater; marsu- 
pials like the kangaroo, bandicoot, wallaby, and wom- 
bat; and flightless birds like the emu and cassowary. 
These and other creatures have leading roles in Austral- 
ian mythology which describes the origin and nature of 
peculiarities of animals, plants, and physiographic fea- 
tures, together with their cultural and assumed biolog- 
ical affiliations with human beings. These explanatory 
talcs, R. B. Dixon states (1914), are "as typical, on the 
whole, for Australia as are the Maui myths for Poly- 
nesia, the wise and foolish brothers for Melanesia, or 
the trickster stories for Indonesia.” 

Though lacking agriculture, pottery, metallurgy, writ- 
ing, and domesticated animals (except for the half- 
domesticated dingo, a disputed member of the genus 
Cnm's), the aborigines had achieved an adjustment to 
the inhospitable environment by a seminomadic, food- 
gathering economy which in 1788, when the British an- 
nexed eastern Australia and Tasmania, supported an 
estimated 300,000 individuals divided into over 300 
separate tribes, each with its own dialect, territory, and 
subdivisions into hordes (Elkin, 1938). The complex 
social organization and world view counteract the effect 
of cultural poverty given by the meager material cul- 
ture. The dose spiritual, temporal, and spatial continu- 
ity and cohesion of members of a local group with their 
ancestors and home territory are expressed intellectually 
in myths told at ceremonies, now popularly called cor- 
roborces, where discussion among the men leads to a 
form fixed as to sequence of events and important de- 

Much of Australia, except the extreme south and 
parts of the east (Knowles, 1937), has a characteristic 
mythological pattern that concerns the careers of to- 
temic ancestors. Sometimes the ancestors, while possessed 
of supernormal powers, arc human; sometimes they 
combine human with botanical and zoological qualities. 
During the mythical past, the “dream time” (called 
Alchcra by the Aranda of central Australia, whose ter- 
minology has become anthropological lingua franca). 

they emerged from the ground or a remouTiw'' 
often northerly, to wander over the horde's W| 
"story places,” now sacred spots and totemic rrm 
near water holes or elsewhere along their “dream™ i 
they created plant and animal species, modified^ 
landscape, and established ceremonies and custom t 
their descendants to follow. They named places spe ; 
and natural phenomena, and created son<w an ,j , ^ 
objects like that called Churinga by the Aranda 
and Gillen, 1927), which are used in /nh’c/iiumVfo? 
increase rites, or in boys’ initiation ceremonies Ref 
disappearing into the earth or sky or transform;.," 
themsclves into rocks or creatures, after having ; ! 
out different places to settle, they left either their 
spirits or spirit children in various incarnations to ^ 
women magically to be reborn. ' ' ; 

Illustrating the pattern is the narrative of Great 
Western Desert tribes (Tindale, 1936; Bcmdt, 1911) 
tell of the Wati Kutjara, “Two Men,” of the eternal 
dream time, who came from the northwest. One m 
lazy, the other energetic. As each had a species of imiana 
as a totem they are sometimes called “Men Iguana"; oc- 
casionally they assumed iguana disguise and used iguana 
designs on objects they made. On their “walkabout" 
the route of which men today follow ceremonially to 
reenact ancestral deeds (“We must do the same as did 
Wati Kutjara”), they made water holes, physiographic 
features, and the ceremonial board comparable" to the 
Churinga, which they hid. They went on, made a bulb 
roarer, and subincised each other. With a magic boom- 
erang they killed a wanderer who tried to steal their 
women and turned him into stone (the first death). 
Later they made ritual headdresses before going out rf 
the territory or into the sky. A sample of the narrathc 
follows . . . "after making a waterhole at Kanba, they 
proceeded northeastwards to Windalda where they 
made rock shelters. From Windalda they travelled west 
to Pinmal where they built an enclosure of cliffs suitable 
for corralling and spearing kangaroos when they come 
to water. Then they went north along the low scarp- 
face to Tjawan where they made trees, the fruit oi 
which they stacked in heaps and made into fruit cakes 
by pounding them on stone mills. They event back again 
to Kulardu and here they accidentally left their spears, 
from which trees, yielding wood fine for spears, sprang 

Each individual authority knew only portions refer- 
ring to his horde’s land; the total history was assembled 
from different hordes and tribes in the region. Spiritual 
and economic factors bind an aborigine to well-defined 
and respected boundaries. 'When he goes anywhere that 
his totemic ancestors have not traveled, he feels him- 
self a transient in dire danger. Mythology makes the 
land home and tells him how to live in it. To be re- 
born, he must die in familiar territory so that his spirit 
will know its path and not wander homeless in totemic 
form. Mythological history is ritually reenacted to the 
accompaniment of myths, songs, paintings, and dra- 
matic representations that revitalize the religious and 
emotional bond between people, land, and ancestors. 

Though excluded from many ceremonies women, at 
least in northwestern tribes (Kabcrry, 1939), are special- 
ists on myths sanctioning rites involving the increase 
of certain plants, and the laws of female totemic an- 
cestors responsible for the origin of birth and related 



matters. Besides serious myths associated with ritual, 
tales are told in everyday life for the fun of telling and 
listening to stories. 

References to the mythical past constitute the final 
word on any debated matter. Adding authority is the 
name of the principal totemic ancestor, like Baiame of 
New South Wales, who by earlier writers was regarded 
as an All-Father, and the rainbow serpent associated 
with rain and fertility and known over much of the 
continent, being especially important in the northwest 
where he is called Kalseru. A moral tone dominates 
many myths. For example, the Wikmunkan tribe of 
Cape York Peninsula (McConnel, 1935) tells of the pun- 
ishment of two male initiates who killed flying fox, 
tabu to them. The Mumgin tribe of Arnhem Land 
(Warner, 1937) narrates how Bamapama, a trickster 
hero, committed many asocial acts including incest. His 
character and adventures recall Coyote of North Amer- 
ican Indian mythology. Laughter and ridicule of his 
behavior express both vicarious enjoyment of tabooed 
acts and disapproval of “crazy men” like him. 

One of the most valuable analyses of style, structure, 
and function of myth cycles is given by Warner (1937) 
for the Mumgin tribe for the Wawilak and Djunkgao 
myths and rituals. 

Existing regional differences in mythology have 
scarcely been analyzed; emphasis has been on descrip- 
tion of function. The problems of analyzing mythic 
elements, tracing their distribution, noting their varia- 
tions, and classifying them are rendered more difficult 
because mythological characters having the same name 
or dialectical variants of the same name are rare in 
Australia, unlike Polynesia. The prominence of certain 
names in discussions of Australian mythology is rarely 
due to their wide provenience but to their value as 
representative characters. For example, though the con- 
cept of a rainbow serpent is widely diffused, his name 
differs from one region to another. 

Dixon’s distinction, made in 1914, between two major 
mythological areas paralleling linguistic areas, is valua- 
ble now mainly as a springboard for further research 
which should include the numerous recent collections. 
Dixon distinguished between a southern and eastern 
area, on the one hand, and a northern and central, on 
the other; little had been recorded then in the west. 
Few tales or incidents are common to both areas, Dixon 
found, a view which further research would perhaps 
modify. Many hero myths in the central area are, he 
stated, known only to limited groups and not even to 
an entire tribe. 

Australians, he pointed out, assume world pre-exist- 
ence, but have much about the origin of, for example, 
mankind, fire, death, and natural phenomena. Explana- 
tory myths, common throughout the continent, are ob- 
scured in the northern and central area by accounts, 
absent in the other area, about the careers of totemic 
ancestors. The south and east, unlike the north and 
central region, has more or less definite tales of a cre- 
ator-being and creation together with myths about 
creation of man. The north either assumes man’s pre- 
existence or narrates an explanation, widely known in 
Australia and present in Tasmania, about amorphous 
beings who were fashioned into human shape. 

Tindale (1946) distinguished four different strata of 
myths: (1) simple tales of hunting and food-gathering 

told in the extreme south and in Tasmania about char- 
acters who act like human beings; (2) "man hero" tales, 
including those about Baiame and Wati Kutjara, of 
southern Australia from east to west, transitional to (3) 
myths about totemic ancestors with plant or animal 
qualities, told in central, northern, and northwestern 
Australia, and finally, (4) Papuan myths lately diffused 
into Cape York Peninsula. 

The view of Australian aborigines as “living fossils” 
stems, in part, from their physical type, which, while 
having some characteristics of each, is neither Caucasian, 
Mongolian, nor Negro. Though regarded by certain 
scholars as Neanderthaloid, or otherwise related to pre- 
cursors of Homo sapiens, the aborigines are customarily 
grouped into a separate racial division, the Australoid, 
representative of protomodern man. 

Comparative mythology has not, at least as yet, shed 
much light on Australian origins. In the assumed mi- 
gration from Asia via Indonesia into Australia, Negroid 
Tasmanians probably preceded Australians, who re- 
placed them on the continent, but not in Tasmania 
where European settlers have since exterminated them. 
One theory has Tasmanians by-passing Australia to 
reach their island. Neither Australians nor Tasmanians 
(except occasional tribes in Cape Y’ork Peninsula) have 
myths about ancestors and heroes traveling from other 
parts of Oceania into their present country. Mythology, 
reflecting the basically similar culture of Australia and 
Tasmania, includes common elements relating to the 
origin of fire, the dual heroes or twin myth, the revival 
of dead people by stinging ants, the belief that char- 
acters become stars or constellations, and the myth that 
two sky-beings, perhaps twins, shaped rudimentary 
creatures into human beings. Tasmanian fragments of 
myths recount that two strange men, dwellers in Castor 
and Pollux, threw fire to human beings. Later the two 
rescued the bodies of tv r o women slain at a pool by a 
monster and revived them with stinging ants. Then the 
four disappeared to become stars. 

Melanesian resemblances, to Dixon, are most marked 
in southern and eastern Australia where occur themes 
like swan-maiden, spear chain to the sky (continental 
counterpart of arrow chain), liberation of concealed 
water, and theft of fire kept in a creature's body. The 
latter theme, also known to Aranda who tell of a male 
euro keeping fire in his sexual parts, is familiar to 
Polynesians and Micronesians. An embryonic being 
shaped into human form appears in Indonesian and 
Polynesian myths, w T here, in Hawaii, Maui himself is 
the artist. Dixon finds only hints of typically Melane- 
sian tales about wise and foolish brothers in southern 
Australia. Papuan resemblances to central and northern 
mythology, Dixon notes, are of a negative sort in the 
virtual absence of cosmogonic myths and the restriction 
of many tales to small groups. 

To Thomson, certain Cape Y’ork hero myths associ- 
ated with a cult are Papuan in origin but reinterpreted 
by Australians to fit their totemic-ancestor complex; 
McConnel’s theory (1936) about them is almost exactly 
opposite. Warner (1932) finds no distinct Malay myth- 
ological themes among Murngin visited by Malay 
voyagers, though beliefs about Malays are incorporated 
into myths. 

The mentality and mythology of the aborigines have 
been the subject of innumerable theories, including 


those oC Freud, Durkhcira, and Lcvy-Bruhl, based on 
the assumption, denied by many scholars, that the 
aborigines, having the most primitive culture known 
today, illustrate how early ancestors of all mankind 
lived and the nature of their intellectual and spiritual 

Many of the following items cited below’ in order of 
first reference in the text have bibliographies. R. B. 
Dixon, "Oceanic” in Mythology of All Races, vol. 9 
(Boston) 191G; A. P. Elkin, The Australian Aborigines 
(Sydney) 1938; N. Knowles, “Australian Cult Totemism,” 
in Twenty-fifth Anniversary Studies (cd. D. S. Davidson), 
Publ. Phila. Anthrop. Soc., 1937; B. Spencer and F. J. 
Gillen, The Arunta, 2 vols. (London) 1927; N. B. Tindale, 
"Legend of the IVati Kutjara . . .” Oceania, vol. 7, pp. 
1G9-1S5, 1936; R. M. Berndt, “Tribal migrations and 
myths . . .” Oceania, vol. 12, pp. 1-20, 1911; P. M. 
Kaberry, Aboriginal Woman (London) 1939; U. H. 
McConnel, “Myths of the IVikmunkan,” Oceania, vol. 
6, pp. GG-93, 1935; vol. G, pp. 452-177, 193G; IV. L. 
Warner, A Black Civilization (New York) 1937; N. B. 
Tindale, “Australian (aboriginal)” in Encyclopedia of 
Literature (ed. J. Shipley) New York, 1946; Davidson, 
D. S„ “The Relation of Tasmanian and Australian Cul- 
tures” in Twenty-fifth Anniversary Studies, Publ. Phila, 
Anthrop. Soc., 1937; D. F. Thomson, "Notes on a Hero 
Cult from the Gtdf of Carpentaria, North Queensland," 
Royal Anthrop. Inst. Grt. Brit, and Ireland, Jour., vol. 
G3, pp. 453-537, 1935, and vol. G4, pp. 217-235, 1931; 
U. H. McConnel, “Totcmic Hero Cults in Cape Y'ork 
Peninsula . . .” Oceania, vol. G, pp. 452-177; vol. 7, 
pp. G9-105, 1936; IV. L. Warner, “Malay Influences on 
the Aboriginal Cultures of Northeastern Arnhem 
Land,” Oceania, vol. 2, pp. 476-495, 1932; S. Freud, 
Totem and Taboo (New Y'ork) 1921; E. Durkhcim, The 
Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (trans. J. IV. 
Swain), London, 192G; L. LGvy-Bruhl, La Mythologie 
Primitive (Paris) 1935; Also see other articles in Oceania 
and Journals of Royal Anthrop. Inst, of Grt. Brit, and 
Ireland; K. L. Parker, Australian Legendary Tales 
(London) 1897; More Australian Legendary Talcs (Lon- 
don) 1898; IV. R. Smith, Myths and Legends of the 
Australian Aboriginals (London) 1930; and A. van 
Gennep, Mythes et Ligendes d’ Australic (Paris) 1905. 

Katharine Luomala 
autograph album rimes Verses, preferably original, 
were written in personal blankbooks called albums by 
relatives, acquaintances, and schoolmates of the owners 
of the albums, asserting undying friendship, conveying 
good wishes, prophesying a bright future, or merely 
asking to be remembered forever. The rimes were 
signed, dated, often decorated elaborately with floral 
designs and calligraphic flourishes and paraphs, and 
the residence of the writer usually given. 

There was great variety in the size, shape, decoration 
and binding of the albums, and the type of verse changed 
greatly with the decades. Every album was different, 
reflecting the taste and circumstances of the owners. 

Autograph albums first appeared in any great numbers 
in America in the 1820's and 1830's, then increased in 
popularity slowly until the sentimental seventies and 
elegant eighties when they were quite the rage. Sporadic 
revivals of the craze have taken place since, and some 
stationers report it current now, but of late years it has 
been increasingly confined to teen-agers and rural 


romantics. Modern writers of album verse are 
apologize by tending toward burlesque. The Iw 
sound mocking. ectloes 

But students of folklore know that album terse t 
its ancient and honorable history needs no def ' "™ 
exculpation. The custom stems directly from tlmalb ^ 
amicorum and the German Stammbuch, and f or r” 0 
hundred years has been followed by both the m'X' 
and the meek. 

It was about the mid-16th century that there sudden] 
appeared and spread rapidly among university stud™.! 
throughout Europe, first in Germany but soon there 
after in Scotland and England, the custom of cam;^ 
about a little leatherbotind book called an album a mf. 
corum. It was not merely a “book of friends” as a super 
ficial translation would indicate. In the lingua franca or 
conversational Latin of that day, used by scholars of all 
countries, amicus meant not only a friend in our modem 
sense of the word, but also was practically synonymous 
with patronus and socius. That is, in the album ami- 
corum the student would seek to have inscribed the 
names and approving sentiments of patrons and pro- 
tectors, companions and comrades, as well as those of 
his intimate friends. Students traveled widely then, and 
a book full of recommendations was of great practical 
value as well as of sentimental and even literary im- 
portance. Some of the artistic alba amicorum containin’ 
names of note which have survived wear and worm are 
almost priceless today. 

James F. K. Johnstone, F.S.A., Scot., in The Alba 
Amicorum of George Strachan, George Craig, and 
Thomas Camming (printed for the Univ. of Aberdeen, 
1924), throws some light on an otherwise neglected 
subject. At a time when Scotch students were traveling 
all over Europe these three lads’ alba cover most of the 
years between 1599 and 1G19. One gets the rare flavor 
of the times when Johnstone quotes some of tire rimes. 
In 1G02 Robert Stuart wrote in Strachan's album the 
quaint and rather touching couplet: 

Ev’n so thocht fortoun force us to dissiver 
I sail induer your faethfull frind for ever. 

And in 1605 J. Hopkyns wrote in Craig’s vade mectim: 

Be as thou art my worthie friend, 

A Rock that firm remaines. 

That in the end the Rock of rockes 
May guerdon all thy paines. 

Thus early we have a good example of a frequently 
occurring whimsy common to album writers unto this 
day who needs must bring in cunningly and usually 
punningly the name of the owner of the album. (Craig 
is Scotch for rock; cf. our crag.) 

In Germany the album amicorum was more likely to 
be called a Stammbuch, for, as the name implies, it was 
more of a family affair. Even today in New York among 
families of German descent the folk custom persists that 
all accessible members of the family must be among the 
first to write in a new autograph album. 

Thus we find a century and a half ago the great 
Goethe himself writing in his young son’s Stammbuch 
the opening inscription which might be roughly trans- 
lated into English: 

Hand to the patron the book, and hand it to friend 
and companion; 

Hand to the traveler too, passing swift on his way, 



He who with friendly gift, be it word or name, 
thee enriches, 

Stores up for thee a treasure of noble remembrance 
for aye. 

In this booh Schiller wrote, but when the boy asked 
Madame dc Stael to autograph it, she flung it from her 
petulantly and said: “I do not like these mortuary 
tables!" Ladies with less foresight are doubtless respon- 
sible for the fact that hardly an album is to be found 
today without several pages missing. 

The extent to which the circulation of these little 
books was carried may be inferred from the fact that 
Goethe owned one that had belonged to the Baron de 
Burkana who in his travels had collected 3,532 entries, 
expressions of esteem and friendship adorned with 
"compliments, maxims, epigrams, witticisms, and anec- 
dotes” including contributions from Montesquieu and 

The names of Charles Lamb and Leigh Hunt are 
definitely and often connected with the writing of ro- 
mantic album verses in England in the first half of 
the 19th century. Both loudly deplored the vogue of 
young ladies chasing celebrities to secure not merely 
their signatures but an original sentimental poem as 
well, and gratis. Hunt might write for a damsel's album 
the protesting lines: 

Albums are records kept by gentle dames 

To show us that their friends can write their names, 

and Lamb might growl about: 

Those books kept by modem young ladies for show, 
Of which their plain Grandmothers nothing did know', 
but both poets knew as well as a Hollywood actor the 
publicity value of a crowd of autograph hunters. In fact. 
Lamb admitted as much in the preface of a volume of 
such verses, published in 1830: "I had on my hands 
sundry copies of verses written for albums ... I feel 
little interest in their publication. They are simply ad- 
vertisement verses.” 

Among these publicity poems were those written "In 
the Album of a Clergyman’s Lady” in which he com- 
pares albums in turn to Gardens of wholesome herbs, 
Cabinets of curious porcelain, Chapels full of living 
friends, and Holy Rooms full of spirits of lost loved 
ones; "In the Album of a French Teacher”; “In the 
Album of a Very Young Lady”; and “In the Album of 
Luq Barker.” 

Ltiq- was a young Quakeress, and Lamb took the op- 
portunity to compare her innocence and purity with 
the spotlessncss of her new album. Hundreds of writers 
since have rung the changes on the etymological deriva- 
tion of the word album from the Latin adjective mean- 
ing “white,” but none have matched the first and last 
stanzas of Lamb’s ideal album poem: 

Little book, sumamed of white. 

Clean as yet, and fair to sight. 

Keep thy attribution right . . . 

Whitest thoughts in whitest dress, 

Candid meanings, best express 
Mind of quiet Quakeress. 

By the time Lamb was writing in Lucy’s album, the 
custom had spread to America and taken vigorous root. 
An old man, writing in Chambers Journal for Sat., Aug. 
30, 1S73, reminisced: "Those who can look back for half 
a century will remember the rage there was in their 

youthful days for albums. . . . legion was not a name 
multitudinous enough for them; literary men crouched 
under their tyranny; young maidens wielded them as 
rods of iron . . . Splendid books they were in their 
day, bound in rich morocco and gold, and often con- 
tained contributions from Scott, Moore, Montgomery 
and Praed; whilst Prout’s beautiful sketches adorned 
their pages side by side with other artists.” 

The album-writing fad suffered a sea-change in moss- 
ing the Alantic, for while the Montgomery-Hunt-Lamb 
style florid did obtain for a period in young ladies’ 
seminaries and similar circles, and we do have a Blen- 
dena writing in the album of Elizabeth her classmate in 
Homer Academy in 1834: 

Enough has Heaven indulged of joy below 
To tempt our tarriance in this loved retreat, 
Enough has Heaven indulged of secret woe 
To make us languish for a happier scene, 

we also note a lighter touch appearing as early as 1836, 
when Mary wrote in the album of Augusta of Coxsackie, 
N. Y., the chaste but purposely ambiguous: 

I wish you health and happiness 
And heavenly grace beside 
And if you have another wish 
That it may be supplied. 

Once well started, the album verse burgeoned into 
many varieties which would have shocked Goethe. 
Everybody began writing poetry, or verse, or doggerel, 
using sheer nerve or Yankee ingenuity when talent gave 
out. One can but admire the originality of the Tillie 
who in 1856 wrote in the album of Mary Tice of New- 
burgh, N. Y., 

Ma chere amie Marie 
Until life’s last sand has run 
May thy days flow lightly on 
Is wished by Tillie Stevenson. 

The emphasis on originality drew 1 protests, of which 
the following teas the most often used: 

You ask me for something original: 

I scarcely know how to begin. 

For there’s nothing original in me 
Unless it’s original sin. 

Brief verses became popular, especially among the 
young men who settled for one like: 

If on this page you chance to look. 

Just think of the writer and shut the book. 

There were several tricky arrangements, such as turn- 
ing the book upside down and writing merely: 

I’m the girl who ruined your book 
By writing upside down. 

or revolving the book and writing spirally or in con- 
centric circles: 

Round is the ring that hath no end; 

So is my love to you, my friend. 

The last page of the album was much sought, with a 
mock humility, and teas often crowded with scvertil: 

Way back here just out of spite 
These two lines do I indite. 

Way over here at this back end 
I inscribe myself your sincere friend. 


Faded leaves, usually rose geranium, scent old albums, 
accompanied by the couplet: 

On this leaf, in memory pressed, 

May my name forever rest. 

Pine needles were attached to album leaves and sub- 
scribed with the ever popular: 

I pine fir yew: 

I also balsam. 

In one century-old album I found a curl of human hair 
glued gruesomely above this verse: 

This lock of hair I once did ware 
I notv commit it to your care: 

And when you view this lock I've braided 
Then think of her whose brow it shaded 

H.P.B.D. June 21. 1810 

In other less literal ways the young ladies let down 
their hair in these albums: 

This is the girl that got a kiss 
And ran to tell her mother: 

That she may live to be an old maid 
And never get another. 

Pray do not be so fickle 
As to love each man you see 
Or you’ll get into a pickle 
Before you’re twenty-three. 

If you wish to be blessed with Heavenly Joys, 
Think more of God and less of the boys. 

Remember me when at the tub. 

Remember me before you rub, 

If the suds should be too hot. 

Lather away, forget me not! 

Boys did not like to write in these albums, but some- 
times took the chance to retaliate thus: 

When this you see, remember me. 

And take a little catnip tea 

(This is somewhat subtle, for the brew was consolation 
for old maids.) 

When you get married and have twins. 

Don’t come to my house for safety-pins. 

Fall out of the cradle, fall into the river. 

But never never never fall in love. 

The masculine revolt revealed itself in another way — 
writing answers opposite or below trite sayings. Where 
a feminine hand had written: 

Great oaks from little acorns grow, 
there was likely to appear nearby a scrawled reply: 

Great aches from little toe corns grow. 

The second line of: 

Remember well and bear in mind 
That a true friend is hard to find 

would be crossed out and this line substituted: 

That a jaybird’s tail sticks out behind. 

I remember that one of n.y boy cousins hated the rime: 

Early to bed and early to rise 
Makes a man healthy wealthy and wise 

and rephrased it in a girl cousin’s album: 

Makes :t man mad and pulls out his eyes. 


And a fellow who had been reproved for his In r , 
obstinacy in refusing to write in a girl's aibum r,nal|. 
seized the book and wrote: 1 

On a mule you find two feet behind- 
Two feet you find before: 

You stand behind before you find 
What the two behind be for. 

Just as the valentine, the rimed expression of low 
when it became saccharine and stickily sentimental 
found its rebuke in the shocking comic valentine, so in 
sister, the rimed expression of friendship in an album 
verse, when it became too vulnerable, was sure to b e 
correctively treated by an observant realist. 

When I arrange chronologically my collection of 
several thousand American autograph album rimes I 
find I have a rather valuable means of insight into the 
changing folk life and folk thought from 1820 up to 
today. Recently I asked the proprietor of a large and 
long-established New York stationery store if he thought 
autograph albums were coming in again, and he replied 
laconically: "They never wen t out, mister.” 

Charles Francis Potiu 
Autolycus In Greek mythology, the son of Hermes, 
celebrated for his skill as a thief. He built up his flocks 
by stealing his neighbors’ sheep and mingling them with 
his own, until Sisyphus outwitted him by secretly marl- 
ing his sheep on the soles of their hooves. 

automaton An automatic contrivance in human or 
animal form which imitates the actions of living things. 
The use of automata in folktales is almost world wide. 
One of the earliest automaton legends tells how the 
mythical Dxxlalus invented the bronze man, slain by 
the Argonauts. 

In the Middle Ages the imagination was constantly 
stirred by attempts to invent automata and perpetual 
motion machines. In the 11th century Ibn Gabitol 
created a mechanical servant who would do his bidding 
when he placed the Divine name in its mouth or on its 
forehead. The legendary Polish Rabbi, Elijah, created 
an automaton that grew so big he was forced to destroy 
it. In the 10th century, Rabbi Low of Prague created 
the Golem, who worked on all days of the week as long 
as a plate inscribed with the Divine Name was kept 
under its tongue. On Friday evening the plate was re- 
moved so that the Sabbath would not be desecrated. One 
Friday, however, this was forgotten and the automaton 
fell to bits. 

While automata most frequently have human form 
in folktales, they arc sometimes dolls (Hindu, Italian) 
or animals (Italian, Jewish, Norse, American Indian, 
Koryak). Human-shaped automata frequently are statues 
or images able to render judgments (Arabian), indicate 
a favor to a suppliant (German, English, Spanish, medie- 
val), reveal a crime (Indian), weep (Swiss), or sew 
(Spanish). They arc frequently men wrought of iron in 
Danish and Asiatic talcs. See brazen head. 
ava Literally, mother, in the language of the Mord- 
vins: often used for the names of female protecting spir- 
its. For example, mnstor-ava is the mistress of the Earth; 
kov-ava, the deity of the Moon, varm-nva, the mother 
of wind, vir-ava, mistress of the forest, ved-ava , the 
mother of water, tol-ava, the guardian of fire, and tud- 
nt'o is the spirit of the house. The word ava is of Turkish- 
Tartarian origin. Compare aw'.a. [jb] 



Avalokita or Avalokitesvara In Mahayana Buddhism, 
the god of mercy or compassion, the Bodhisattva whose 
face is turned in every direction in order to save every- 
one; the son of the Buddha Amitabha. In his early de- 
velopment Avalokita was usually depicted with four or 
seven other bodhisattvas surrounding or below a Buddha. 
His dwelling place is in the paradise of Amitabha, Suk- 
liavatl, and at the end of the present age he will appear 
as the thousandth and last Buddha. 

In his later development Avalokita became the na- 
tional god of Tibet, eclipsing Amitabha. As patron of 
the Tibetan Church, he is incarnated in the person of 
the Dalai Lama. He is represented in icons as human 
in form with two arms and one head. In one hand he 
holds a lotus, with the other he makes the gesture of a 
blessing. When he is identified with Siva his eyes, faces, 
and arms are multiplied. In one figure he is represented 
with 11 heads and 1000 anus. 

In China, Avalokita was identified with the personi- 
fication of the cosmic female energy and evolved into 
the feminine Kuan-yin. 

Avalon In Arthurian legend, the island (first men- 
tioned by Geoilrcy of Monmouth, c. 113G) where Arthur’s 
sword Caliburnus (Excalibur) was made and to which 
Arthur was conveyed for the curing of his wounds after 
his battle with Mordred. Geoffrey later described it in 
the Vila Mcrlini as the Isle of Apples, where vegetation 
flourished, men lived to be over a hundred, and the 
beautiful Morgan le Fay and her eight sisters dwelt, 
skilled in the healing arts and in flying through the air. 
The fullest account of Avalon as an clysian isle is given 
in the Gcsla Regum Britanuiac (c. 1235). The tradition 
goes back ultimately to the pagan Celtic concept of an 
island of fairy women, of which Old Irish voyage-sagas 
preserve a record. In Welsh we find mention of Ynis 
Avallach, which meant, somewhat confusingly, cither 
Isle of an Apple-orchard or Isle of Avallach, father of 
the goddess Modron. The Breton coutcurs took over 
the tradition from the Welsh and adopted the form 
Avalon, perhaps influenced by the name of the famous 
Burgundian town. Celebrated under this name by the 
wandering Bretons, the fairy isle became known to 
Geoffrey, Marie de France, and the French romancers. 
When the tradition of this mysterious land, whither 
Arthur had been conveyed, thus returned to Britain, 
there was speculation as to where Avalon was located. 
Now the Welsh seem to have equated their mythical 
Isle of Apples with an equally mythical clysian Isle of 
Glass, for this explains how Avalon came to be identi- 
fied with Glastonbury. Before 1136 the Welsh monk 
Caradoc of Lancarvan asserted (mistakenly) that the 
name Glastonbury was a translation of Isle of Glass. 
Later some ingenious person must have argued that 
since the Isle of Apples was the Isle of Glass and since 
the Isle of Glass was Glastonbury, ergo Avalon was 
Glastonbury. This inference was supported by the fact 
that Glastonbury was almost surrounded by marshes 
and lay in apple-growing Somerset. But where was 
Arthur? Since he certainly was not to be found at Glas- 
tonbury in the flesh, he must have died, contrary to the 
belief of the Bretons and Welsh. This the realistic Anglo- 
Normans were willing enough to believe. So in 1190 or 
1191 the monks of Glastonbury professed to have dis- 
covered in their cemetery the bones of Arthur and 
Guinevere, with an identifying inscription, and down to 

the dissolution of the monasteries the tomb was to be 
seen. Thus the Celtic isle of women became firmly fixed 
among the green marshlands of Somerset, no longer the 
abode of immortals, but the burial place of a British 
hero. And so we find that Malory combines both versions 
of Arthur's end. In one chapter lie is borne away in a 
barge by the weeping queens, presumably to their faery 
isle; in the next we find him buried by the Archbishop 
of Canterbury in a chapel near Glastonbury, [rsl] 

avalou or yanvalou Literally, supplication: one of the 
vodun dances of Haiti, characterized by violent arm- 
and shoulder-muscle movements. [crK] 

avatar or avatara In Hindu religion and mythology, 
the incarnation of a deity as a man or animal, especially 
that of Vishnu who, according to the Bhagavad-Gitu, 
is reincarnated to defend his rule whenever there is a 
decline in the law and an increase in iniquity. Vishnu 
went through ten incarnations: 1) Matsya or Fish, 2) 
Kurma or Tortoise, 3) Varaha or Boar, 4) Narasinha or 
Man-lion, 5) Vamana or Dwarf, 6) 1’arahirarna or Rama 
with an ax, 7) Rama, the gentle Rama, hero of the 
Rdmayana, 8) Krishna the black, 9) Buddha, and 10) 
Kalki, the white horse. The first five avatars were myth- 
ological, the next three heroic, the ninth religious, the 
tenth is yet to come. In the Bhdgavata Purdna the num- 
ber of specified incarnations is extended to 22 with the 
statement that the incarnations of Visluju are innumer- 

Avenger’s Sword A Danish ballad (DGF25) celebrat- 
ing the grim weapon of Scandinavian tradition which 
"leaps to kill” of itself and sometimes even turns upon 
its holder. In this ballad it says, "Now lust I for thine 
own heart’s blood. Hadsl thou not named me by my 
name, right notv should I have been thy banc." Compare 
Tyrfing. Sec ballad; name; swords. 

Avesta The sacred book containing the teachings of 
Zoroaster, now the holy scripture of the Gabars of Iran 
and the I’arsis of India: also the dialect in which it is 
written. Originally the Avesta, according to the Dinkart, 
contained 21 books. These were divided into three 
groups, the gdsan or Gathd, containing spiritual and 
moral teachings, the ddtik containing the laws, and the 
hatak mansarik containing both spiritual and legal mat- 

This material was carefully preserved until the in- 
vasion of Alexander when the two archetypic copies, 
one kept at Persepolis and the other at Samarkand, were 
destroyed. The invasion of Alexander almost destroyed 
the Zoroastrian faith as well as entailing the loss of 
many portions of the scriptures. The later invasion by 
the Moslems and the ensuing religious persecution 
forced Zoroastrians either to abandon their faith or go 
into exile, and the texts then extant were burned. A 
small part of the original text was remembered by the 
priests, however, and in written form, and this remnant 
forms the present Avesta, 

This consists of the Yasna, the chief liturgical work 
which includes the Guthus, the Visparad containing 
additions to the Yasna, the Yashts or hymns to angels 
and the heroes of ancient Iran, miscellaneous fragments 
and minor texts, and the Vendiddd which contains the 
account of the creation, a priestly code for purification, 
directions for treatment of the dog (reverenced by 



Zoroastrians), a discussion of the character of the true 
and the false priest, and a revelation of the destiny of 
the soul after death. 

The Avesta was first introduced to Europe when it was 
deciphered by Anquetil du Perron and published in 
1771 under the title Zend-Avesta, Otrvragc dc Zoronstre. 

Asya The sun and the moon in the cosmological 
mythologv of the Cubeo Indians of southeastern Colom- 
bia. Avya is a man who walks across the sky. He makes 
daylight so that women may work, but gives less light 
at night (in his moon aspect) so that people may sleep. 
It is Avya who causes women to menstruate; copulating 
with Asya at night causes this. During an eclipse of the 
moon the people say, "Asya is dying.” They believe that 
some evil shaman has caused this illness of Asya, and 
if ever they discos er svhidi shaman did it, the hapless 
fellosv is put to death at once. 

asva The svord for mother of the Chcrcmis. It is often 
used in the names of specific deities; for example, telezc- 
n;ro is mother of the Moon, mclandc-azvn, mother of the 
Earth, hetsc-awa, mother of the Sun, mardci-axca, mother 
of the AVind, wfit-awa is mother of AVatcr. and tul-azva 
is mother of Fire. Compare ava. [jn] 

asvassa A social dance of the Surinam Bush Negroes, 
often performed as a preliminary to religious rites tvhcrc 
spirit-possession occurs. It is danced by men and women, 
facing each other. In the Gold Coast, this dance is called 
awisa, and is said to have had greater \oguc in earlier 
times. Its derivation is given by the present Ashanti as 
d Hausa origin, [mjh] 

A:t l Boy Title and hero of a Tcwa Indian folktale in 
which, at the time of migration of a whole tillage to 
another place, a young mother gives birth to a baby 
boy, then rises and hurries away after her people. The 
abandoned baby grows miraculously in a number of 
days, runs around looking for food, and comes by chance 
into the house where his father lived. A voice calls to 
him from the rafters. It is Awl, who bids the child take 
him down and WTap him in cowhide, and promises to 
help him in the hunt. A Alien the bov hunts, he carries 
Awl with him, henceforth has marvelous luck, kills 
many rabbits and deer, and has plentv of meat. From 
now on the boy is named Awl Boy. Eventually Awl Boy, 
guided by Awl, goes to seek his people. He finds them 
in bad circumstances, but easily provides them with an 
abundance of meat and parrot feathers. And they elect 
him their chief. 

A variant of the story begins with the abandoned baby 
and his miraculous growth; but it is Corn Mother who 
speaks to him from the rafter of the house and tells him 
what to do. She bids him place her in the middle of a 
basket which is full of corn meal. Then she bids him 
bring the awl and place him too in a basket and to put 
a deerskin cover over that basket. In the night, she says. 
Awl will make him clothes. So the boy places the awl in 
the basket, covets the basket with deerskin, and then 
goes to sleep. In the morning he finds shirt and trousers 
and moccasins of deerskin bewde him. He puls them on, 
and taking with him the c-o. . Mother and Awl Man, lie 
goes forth into the wo; ; >m Mother and Awl Man 
direct him to a pla c- • ; there are many people. 

After a series of advc . es he eventually comes to his 
own people, who had nothing but greens to eat. They 
were thin and miserable and having hard times. The 

l>oy orders that the people clean the town and swetn 
houses, and when it is done, he walks through the t ' ” 
throwing seeds of com into every open door. AVh.ei,°t? 
people see their houses full of corn, they make tf> y 
their chief. ‘ ” 

awl-elbow witches In the folktales of the Oiib 
Mianac, Crec, and Menominee Indians (Algonoufirf 
old women with sharp awls (sometimes knive) f or 
bows. The hero of talcs in which these villainous ^ 
acters appear usually avoids them by a ruse, QlI ,y’ 
them to kill each other by mistake. - 

Awl Man A spirit of Pueblo Indian religion: penc~i 
fication of the awl (the sharpened stick, bone, or sYcce 
used by North American Indians as a perforator in K-, f . 
ing). Awl Man is one of the many tutelary spirit, o! 
Pueblo culture who "gives of himself.” Just as Corr 
Mother gives of her flesh for the people, as Clay Motto 
gives of herself to the pottCTS. or Salt AVoman, or th- 
Flint Boys, or the game animals give of themselves, so 
Awl Man gives of himself to help those who need hi” 
Hodge points to the human faces incised on certain o'-' 
bone awls as illustrative of this personification. And ii» 
common role of Awl Man as benefactor in folktale 
bears witness to the fundamental animism of puetb 
daily thought and act. 

Awonawilona In the Zutii Indian origin mvth, th; 
All-Container, who existed before the beginning of be- 
ing. He made himself into the form of the Sun, "who ir 
our father” and who thus came to be. By his thinkir.- 
he created the mists that promote growth. His light and 
warmth resolved the mists into the primeval sea, and th; 
green scums grew and widened. From balls of ha 
cuticle which he threw upon the waters came forth the 
Earth Mother (Awitclin Ts'ta, Fourfold-Containing 
Mother Earth) and Sky Father (Apoyan Tachi, All-Gov- 
cring Father Sky). From these two came all life on the 
face of the earth. Mother Earth caused the clouds and 
rains to come; Father Sky showed the stars shining in 
the palm of his hand as he moved it across the bowl of 
the sky. 

The myth continues in great detail with stories of th; 
emergence of tribes from lower regions, and the distribu- 
tion of tribes, the origin of death, the lizard hand, 
brother and sister incest, twin heroes who visit their 
father the Sun. and other incidents common to many 
other North American Indians. The parallel develop- 
ment of the details of the Zuni origin myth with Ztmi 
ceremonialism is the outstanding point of interest. 

ax or axe An edged tool for hewing. The history c! 
tile ax begins with the Stone Age; it was one of the first 
if not the first tool produced by man. Originally the head 
was of stone, then of bronze, and finally of iron and iron 
alloys. It has varied from a roughly chipped piece cf 
stone to a beautifully ground blade, often half-moon in 
shape as the battle-axes of the Middle Ages, or double- 
edged as those found in the excavations of Knossos. It 
has also had a varied history as a weapon of war, as the 
symbol of a number of gods, among them the Mexican 
thunderer Tlaloe the Semitic Ramman, the Cretan 
Dionysus, and the Greek Artemis, Apollo, and Athena, 
as the instrument used in sacrificial killings by early 
peoples such as the Hittites, as a unit of exchange, and 
possibly as the object of a religious cult. The ax, as a 
symbol of Tlaloe, is a sky support in Mexican mythol- 


to destroy the faithful. In the Bundaliishn his lineage is 
traced to Angra Mainyu and he is said to have com- 
mitted incest with the demon Aiitalc, his mother. In 
legend Azhi Dahaka slew Yima and tried to seize his 
glory. He was conquered after a reign of a thousand 
years by Thraetaona (or Atar) who bound him on 
Mount Demavand. He will break his fetters before the 
coming of Keresaspa at the end of the world, trill de- 
stroy a third of mankind as well as water , lire, and \ ege- 
tation, but will be slain by Keresaspa. Azhi Dahaka 
seems to personify the thousand years of Iranian oppres- 
sion by the Babylonian Empire. 

aziza The Dahomean “little people" of the forest, con- 
ceived as spirits who gave magic and knowledge of the 
worship of the gods to man. As dwellers in the forest, 
they are believed to have transmitted the power of magic 
through the medium of hunters, whose magic the Da- 
liomeans hold to be especially potent, [mjh] 

Azrael or Azrail In Jewish and Mohammedan my- 
thology, one of the archangels: the terrible angel of 

death who receives from God the leaves upon whTh 
written the names of those about to die. He is a C - 
sometimes as a formidable being whose feet rest ' 
edges of the world while his head reaches into 
He is also described as having as many eyes as there ^ 
men in the world and one of these closes vhenev ** 
being dies. At the end of the world only eight eves "w 
remain open, one for each of the four throne bearers -» 
tire four archangels. Azrael takes the soul from pi 
dying body. J ' * 

Azrael is said to gather the souls of believers into 
white silk doth and the souls of unbelievers into a p . 
These are then sent to heaven orhdl. In the folktales c' 
the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments he is a man of fo- 
bidding aspect and horrible presence dad in tatttmi 
dothes with an asker’s wallet at his neck. 

Azuma-nta Literally, songs of the East: popular lore 
songs of the northeast coast of Japan, sung in the Sth 
century and collected in the Manyoshu, an antholon 
of the period. 


ha In andent Egyptian rdigion, the soul, an actual 
but invisible entity inhabiting tire human body during 
life, leaving it at death, but not irrevocably: in later 
representations a bird with a human face and head and 
preceded by a lamp. It left the tomb and flitted about the 
cemetery at night, fed with cakes and cared for by the 
sycamore tree goddess of the cemetery, as contrasted with 
the ka, which subsisted on foods buried in the tomb, or 
the kas of buried food. The body had to remain intact 
so that the ba might return to it. The concept of the ba 
(still a living belief in Egy pt) is thought to be very early, 
antedating all Osiris and Ra theologies, and is probably 
rooted in observation of the huge white owls so numer- 
ous among the tomb-pits. An andent belief was that 
the stars were bas lit by their lamps. See ka. 

baal or ba‘al (feminine baalat; plural baalim) The 
generic name for numerous andent Semitic gods, espe- 
dally of Syria and Palestine, each usually the local agri- 
cultural deity bestowing fertility upon land and flocks. 
With later theological development we may speak of a 
god Baal (compare Babylonian Bel), but originally 
there were as many baalim as sacred places in which 
they dwelt. There is no direct evidence of baalim sepa- 
rate from physical surroundings, e.g. gods of abstract 
qualities, the theory being that the baalim developed 
about the sacred nature of places like springs and oases 
in the life of an agricultural desert people. The cult of 
Melkart, the baal of Tyre, reached prominence in Pales- 
tine under Ahab and Jezebel and brought forth denun- 
dation from the prophets because of its license, human 
sacrifice, etc. The word baal has the basic meaning of 
“master, owner" and still survives, for example in sev- 
eral Yiddish words as "baalboos," “master of the house, 
home-owner.” Sec Astarte; Bel; Semitic mythology. 

babalawo Yoruban term for a diviner who utilizes 
the tedtniques of the Ifa cult. The methods employed 
by these spedalists consist in manipulating palm kernels. 

tile resulting combinations being interpreted in torn 
of an extended series of verses, whidi give point and 
meaning to an appropriate tale or myth which is called 
upon for a given interpretation. These verses and asset 
dated stories, relevant to die system of throwing the 
kernels at hazard, number thousands, and their mastery 
calls for intensive training of seven years or more The 
cult of Ifa divining spread to Dahomey, where its prac- 
titioners are known as bokonon. The word babalawo 
has persisted in the New World, simplified forms of Ifa 
divination being known espedally wdl in Brazil and 
Cuba, [mjh] 

Baba Yaga or Baba Jaga A female supernatural ef 
Russian folklore. The Baba Y'aga seems to be analogous 
to the South German Berctha. She is a cannibahstic 
ogress, who steals and cooks her victims; she prefers 
young children, though she often travels about with 
Death, who gives her souls to eat. Her abode is a little 
hut constantly spinning around on fowls’ legs in a 
Hearing in the distant forest; this is surrounded by a 
picket fence topped with skulls. The Baba Yaga rides 
through the air in an iron kettle stirring up tempests, 
or in a mortar which she moves by a pestle as she 
sweeps her traces from the air with a broom. She is a 
guardian of the fountains of the water of life. Her teeth 
and breasts of stone are used to tear her victims' flesh. 
She is often reduplicated in folktale, there being two 
or three sisters, all called Baba Y'aga, all customarily 
lying in their huts, head to tlte door, a foot in either 
comer, and nose touching the ceiling. 

Babe, the Blue Ox Paul Bunyan’s wonderful ox, his 
companion and chief assistant in his logging operations. 
Babe was born white, but turned blue in the Winter of 
the Blue Snow. The spread between his eyes was 12 ax 
handles and a plug of dtewing tobacco, and he was ?3 
hands (whether Paul's or not is not known) in height. 
When Babe ate hay, a crew of men was kept busy pith- 



in" baling wire from his teeth. Babe loved hotcakes and 
met his end by swallowing a fresh batch, stove and all. 
The Blue Ox was so heavy that he sank knee-deep in 
solid rock when he took a step, thus causing among 
other things, the formation of the lakes of Michigan 
and Oregon. Babe hauled in one load entire 640-acre 
sections of timber. Among Babe’s many exploits may be 
mentioned his pulling of the scoop, or glacier, with 
which Paul dug Puget Sound; his mighty tug that 
straightened the twisted river (some say it was a logging 
road); and his hauling from the ground the dry oil-well 
that was sawed into post-holes. Some people believe 
that the Black Hills of South Dakota were heaped by 
Paul to mark Babe's grave, but this is to be doubted. 

babies from cabbages A well-known euphemism 
popularly used to answer children's premature ques- 
tions about childbirth: perhaps rooted in the ancient 
acceptance of trees as immortal spirits capable of giving 
birth to human beings, as among the ancient Greeks 
and Irish and in South Africa and Indonesia. 

babies from the earth, lakes, or wells In ancient Teu- 
tonic belief babies were born first of all from their 
mother, the earth, before coming to human parents. In 
token of this they were laid, the moment after birth, 
upon the ground. Many old German and Scandinavian 
stories tell of babies being found in hollow trees, which 
were perhaps regarded as exits from the earth. In 
southern Germany Frau Holle kept the souls of unborn 
children safe in the bottom of lakes and wells, which 
were called in consequence, Kindersecn, children's lakes, 
and Kinderbrunnen, children's wells. See Adeborsteinf.. 

Babylon Title of an English ballad (Child #14: 
"Babylon; or, The Bonnie Banks o Fordie”) in which a 
robber kills two of three sisters for resisting him. The 
third threatens him with the vengeance of her brother 
Baby Lon and they thus discover that the robber has 
killed his own sisters. The theme is found in all 
branches of Scandinavian balladry. 

baby taken from murdered (or dead) mother’s -womb 
A folktale motif (T584.2; T612) associated especially 
with the widespread North American Indian Lodge-Boy 
and Thrown-Away cycle. Five well-known Shoshonean 
stories contain it, among them The I Volf and the Geese, 
in which Wolf asks the geese to find him a dead woman 
with a baby. They find two. Wolf takes a baby boy 
from one and a baby girl from the other. The girl can 
walk immediately and travels about with Wolf. In the 
story Wolf's Son, Wolf acquires his son by beheading 
his wife, killing several babies he finds within her be- 
gotten by others, and saving his own. Similar is the 
story of the woman who went to visit Snake and did not 
return. Her sons went to look for her and found their 
mother dead and swollen. They opened her abdomen 
from which came forth two lizards and a snake and 
finally an Indian baby girl, whom they reared. Typical 
of the Lodge-Boy and Thrown-Away and Bead-Spitter 
and Thrown-Away stories is the pregnant mother mur- 
dered in her husband’s absence by man or monster who 
takes living twins (or child and afterbirth) from her 
body, leaves one behind the curtain, and throws the 
other away. In the Micmac story of Ketpusye’genau the 
unborn child is taken from the murdered mother's 
womb and thrown in the brook. 

Although this motif turns up in North American 

Indian tales everywhere from the northern and south- 
ern Atlantic tribes to the northwest Pacific, it is espe- 
cially associated with the Plains area. It is not limited 
to North America, however. The Greek zEsculapius was 
removed from his mother's womb on her funeral pyre; 
the Yurukare Indians of Bolivia have similar stories; 
and there is a Melanesian story from the New Hebrides 
in which a woman is murdered and thrown in a thicket, 
where her twin boys come forth of themselves. 

Bacabs In the ancient mythology of Yucatan, the four 
brothers who were deities of the four directions; up- 
holders of the earth or of the sky; guardians of the 
waters and bringers of rain: they were personified by 
animal- and human-headed water-jars. Las Casas de- 
scribes a Yucatec story of the Trinity in which Bacab 
is equated with the Son, is scourged and crucified, and 
arises from the dead. The condensation of the four gods 
of direction into one person and the connection with 
the cross which points four ways is, as Alexander shows, 
an obvious and natural change. Compare Tlaloc. 

Bacchus Dionysus as the noisy and riotous god of 
wine: so called by both Greeks and Romans. The 
Bacchanalia, or orgies connected with the mysteries of 
Dionysus in Rome, where they were introduced in the 
2nd century B.C., seem to have become within a very 
short period so extremely licentious that they were 
banned by the Senate in 186 B.C. At first the communi- 
cants were only women, but, claiming inspiration of the 
god himself, one matron transformed the festival into a 
public scandal: in place of the three days a year of 
observance, she proclaimed five days every month; men 
were admitted; the observance was to take place at 
night rather than in the daytime, etc. After the edict 
against the Bacchanalia, a milder form of Bacchus wor- 
ship took place at the Liberalia, Liber being another 
form of the god. See Dionysus; satyr. 

bachelor’s-button Any of certain plants (genus Cen- 
taurca) with button-shaped flowers or heads, such as 
the cornflower. In England it was customary for a young 
man to carry one of these flowers in his pocket for a 
time. If it lived, he would marry his current sweetheart; 
if it died, it was a sign that he would soon be seeking a 
new sweetheart. 

Bachue A fertility goddess of the ancient Chibcha 
Indians of Colombia. She emerged from a lake with a 
small boy who became her husband when he grew' up. 
She populated the land with her children. After exhort- 
ing the people to live in peace, she and her husband 
were changed into snakes and disappeared into the lake. 
She is also called Fura-chogue (beneficent female), [am] 

backward speech or behavior Saying or doing some- 
thing in reverse of its normal order: a custom or 
practice found throughout the world but adapted for 
different purposes by different peoples. Wherever it is 
found, imitative magic is probably at its base. 

Talking backwards, or saying the opposite of what is 
meant, is used as a common form of humor among 
North American Indians, as by the Arapaho Crazy 
Dancers and several of the Pueblo societies, especially 
as a typical ceremonial custom. Despite the surface lev- 
ity, Pueblo clowns are considered as powerful curers in 
that they recite certain medicinal formulas in reverse 
order. Among the medieval Jews, the reciting of the 


opening of Leviticus, forwards, then each word back- 
wards, then the whole passage reversed, was thought to 
be a counter to magic. Among the practices attributed 
to followers of the Devil in western Europe is the re- 
citing of the Lord’s Prayer backwards. The Mass of St. 
Secaire, in Gascony, features a backward recitation that 
brings death to the one against -whom revenge is de- 
sired. Similar beliefs are found among the Arabs and 
Buddhists. In the Kathu Sarit Sugar a, the recitation of 
a given formula forwards makes a man invisible, while 
a backward reading permits him to assume whatever 
shape he desires. 

Doing things backwards likewise has a certain power. 
Ringing the chime backwards as an alarm is such a 
custom, as is the flying of a flag in reverse as a sign of 
distress. These probably are based as much on the idea 
of reversal of fortune as on the noticeable incongruity 
of the action. In the United States some maintain that 
a garment accidentally put on in reverse must not be 
taken off and put on correctly or ill luck will follow'. 
Medieval Jews deliberately reversed their clothing or 
■walked backwards to reverse a suspected charm against 
them. Throwing things behind one likewise has a cer- 
tain efficacy in preventing evil, or as in some folktales 
in slowing up pursuit. 

Badb (bov) Literally, scalcl-crow: in Old Irish mythol- 
ogy, an evil spirit delighting in carnage. She incited 
armies against each other, filled wairiors with fury. and 
is usually interpreted as a war goddess. She was one 
of three such beings (with Macha and Neman). II a (15 
was the daughter of Ernmas, one of the Tuatha D6 
Danann, and either the wife or granddaughtet of Nit, 
as was also Morrigan (later Irish, Morrigu) who plays a 
parallel or identical role. The Gauls had an analogous 
figure called Bodua. Badb, the scald-crow, appeared on 
the battlefield in this form, presaging the death of 
heroes or appeared in still more hideous guise to war- 
riors about to he defeated. Badb, along with the Mor- 
rigu, helped drive the Fomorians out of Ireland. A. H. 
Krappe interprets the valkyries of the Njals Saga as "a 
transposition in an Icelandic milieu of these Celtic 

In later Irish folklore, the word means, in addition to 
scald-crow, a scolding old hag or witch. Today Badb is 
sometimes identified with the banshee in function, 
presaging death to certain families, except that she ap- 
pears always in the form of a scald-crow. 

Badger The first animal sent up to earth through a 
hole in the sky by the ancestors of the Hopi Indians 
before their emergence from the underworld. Badger is 
often connected with doctoring by the Pueblo Indians. 
In a Tewa tale he is the doctor; at Isleta lie is a power- 
ful animal; at Zufii, a south directional spirit. Among 
the Micmac Indians of the northeastern United States, 
Badger is a trickster, [ewv] 

In Japanese, badger is tanuki, one of several 
animals of Japanese folklore who possess extraordinary 
magical powers. He is usually depicted with an enor- 
mous bell, [jlm] 

Badger medicine Tue curing power of the Badger: a 
concept of Hopi and other Pueblo Indian religion. 
Badger knows about certain plants and roots which he 
is always digging up out of the ground. Badger as curer 
originated as a kachina at Oraibi tvhere he appeared 


carrying his medicines and his buzzard feathm"l 
orcising. Ever since then the medicine chief 0 f t | *' 
ing society has always been a Badger clansman n 
medicine is valued especially as a delivery men - ' 
Zufii and Isleta. A badger paw (called BadeeTnu 
Woman) is either worn by the woman in childbirth 
it is placed on the bed, or on the ground nearby Tl°' 
is because the badger digs himself out quickly 
fat and the sexual organs of the badger are goodm 6 ] 1 
cine for impotent men. See animal curers. Mi ‘ 

bad man Western "killer” or "gunman”: so ca)W 
because in his law-breaking or law-enforcing capacity h 
was a "had man to fool with,” or dangerous to oppoJ 
The beginnings of the bad man era are traced to th 
wave of banditry and depredations after the Mexia' 
War and the bloody Missouri-Kansas border conflict be 
fore the Civil War. Homicidal lawlessness reached itj 
height during the feudal cattle wars and sheep and 
cattle wars of the Great Plains and the gold and silver 
mining boom of the Southwest and the Black Hills, as 
well as in the no-man’s land of Indian Territory. x 0 . 
torious haunts of the bad man included the wide-open 
cowboy capitals and trail-end terminus towns oi Deni- 
son, Fort Worth, and El Paso, Texas; Albuquerque and 
Las Vegas, New Mexico; Abilene, Dodge City, and Ells- 
worth, Kansas; and the "Helldorado” mining towns oi 
Denver, Lcadvillc, and Central City, Colorado; Tomb- 
stone, Arizona; and Dcadwood, South Dakota. 

With popular sympathy on the side of the outlaw as 
the enemy of the rich, the folk imagination tended to 
blur and break down the distinction among the three 
main types of killer or gunman— the homicidal maniac 
or professional killer who killed in cold blood (Billy the 
Kid, John Wesley Hardin, the Apache Kid); the more 
civilized or chivalrous "good bad man” (Jesse James, Sam 
Bass, Pretty Boy Floyd); and the peace officer who was 
not above shooting on inadequate provocation and to 
settle a private feud (Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Eaip, 
Luke Short, Bat Mastcrson). An attempt was made how- 
ever to distinguish between the gun fighter, who fought 
fair, and the gunman, who didn't. More or less outside 
the "killer” class was a peaceable marshal like Bill 
Tilghman of Oklahoma, who never took a life unless he 
had to in order to save his own, only (in the end) to be 
the victim of his own generosity. 

In his supreme daring and uncanny skill with wea- 
pons as well as in the fact that he killed to avenge a 
personal wrong, if not always in self-defense, the had 
man satisfied the heroic requirements of challenge and 
ordeal by combat, an even break or a fighting chance. 
Moreover, be was generally the victim of society or or- 
cumslances or a dual personality, split (as in Billy the 
Kid's case) between a "good-humored, jovial imp” and a 
"ctucI and blood-thirsty fiend.” Death through treach- 
ery or by walking into a trap conferred martyrdom upon 
him. Jesse James was shot by "that dirty little coward,” 
Robert Ford, brother of a former accomplice of his, in 
order to claim the reward. Billy the Kid was trailed to 
his sweetheart’s home and shot in the dark by his erst- 
while friend. Sheriff Pat Garrett. Sara Bass was double- 
crossed by one of his own gang and slain in ambush. 
Wild Bill was shot in the back, while playing poker in 
a Dcadwood saloon, by Jack McCall— presumably to 
avenge the slaying of his brother by Wild Bill. (When 
Bill was picked up, two black aces and black eights fell 



out of liis hand— a combination known thereafter to 
superstitious gamblers as “The Dead Man’s Hand.") 

In the popular imagination the had man was fre- 
quently identified with Robin Hood. Of William C. 
Quantrill (Quantrell), the guerrilla leader, the ballad 

Oh, Quantrell’s a fighter, a bold-hearted boy, 

A brave man or woman he’d never annoy. 

He’d take from the wealthy and give to the poor. 

For brave men there’s never a bolt to his door. 

And of Jesse James: 

He stole from the rich and he gave to the poor. 

He’d a hand and a heart and a brain. 

Of Jesse James, Sam Bass, and Rube Burrow is told the 
story of how the outlaw paid off the poor widow’s 
mortgage and then stole the money back from the mort- 
gage-owner. Pretty Boy Floyd has been described as a 
"nice, soft-spoken boy, good to his mother.” 

As a deadshot the bad man added a touch of show- 
manship by his trick or fancy gunplay or “folklore 
shooting.” According to Frost Woodhull (Southwestern 
Lore, Austin, 1931, pp. 1-14, Henry Starr of Okla- 
homa liked to ride up and down country lanes cut- 
ting barbed wire with his .45, while Wild Bill was fond 
of shooting knotholes and the O’s in saloon signs. Per- 
haps the most sensational feat ever performed by the 
latter was his simultaneous killing of two assailants who 
had entered by opposite doors of a restaurant. Drawing 
both pistols, “with one he killed the man in front of 
him, and at the same time with the other gun resting 
on the opposite shoulder he killed the man behind him, 
looking through the mirror” over the front door (George 
D. Hendricks, The Bad Man of the I Vest, 1941, p. 96). 

The absurdly exaggerated legendary claims of the 
phenomenal records of gunmen include 30 men killed 
by Bat Masterson at Dodge City, 21 men by Billy the 
Kid in his 21 years ("not counting Indians”), and “ten 
men single-handed” by Wild Bill in the McCanless 
massacre. Wild Bill had more than his share of miracles. 
During the Civil War his horse Black Nell, with her 
"trick of dropping quick,” saved his life more than once. 
In Sam Bass’s case, horses figured prominently. Besides 
the Denton mare, which he matched in all races, he had 
a horse that carried him down canon sides “where 
human foot could not find place, carrying on unfalter- 
ingly, and at last, when danger threatened, waking its 
sleeping master by shaking him"— an adaptation of 
Swift Nick and Dick Turpin (Charles J. Finger, Frontier 
Ballads, 1927, p. 71). Like the pirates of old, Sam Bass 
left behind him a folk heritage of buried treasure leg- 
ends. But none of these miracles could compare with the 
final touch in the Wild Bill saga. His remains, on being 
exhumed for reburial, showed evidence of natural em- 

Survival legends are another folklore attribute of 
the bad man. Rumors that Billy the Kid was still alive 
persisted as late as 1926. No less than seventeen persons, 
according to his granddaughter, have claimed to be the 
“original Jesse James.” From Texas comes the legend 
that Quantrell, badly wounded but not killed during 
the Civil War, was for many years a country school 
teacher in East Texas (akin to the Marshal Ney legend). 
In Wyoming, tradition has clung to the notion that 
Tom Horn was cut down alive from the gallows and 
spirited away. 

Flie bad man lives on not only in folklore and legend 
but in the Western “thriller,” from the Beadle dime 
novel to the “Western story” magazine and comic book, 
and the horse opera of movies, radio, and television, 
where the Lone Ranger’s bandit mask symbolizes the 
enigma of the bad man’s personality and reputation. 

B. A. Botkin 

bagpipe A wind instrument important in folk and 
military music from the Middle Ages to the present, 
probably of Asiatic origin, but known in the western 
world since the time of Nero, who was reported to have 
played it. It consists of one or more reed pipes of either 
oboe (double reed) or clarinet (single reed) types, in- 
serted into a bladder or windbag which is inflated by 
mouth or by a bellows attachment to supply air for 
sounding the pipes. Generally one pipe, the chanter, 
has finger holes for playing the melody, and the others 
are drones of fixed tones for accompaniment. Chiefly 
knotvn notv as the national instrument of Scotland, the 
variety of its types and names in many languages indi- 
cates the widespread popularity of the bagpipe (French 
cornemuse, musette, chevrelte, loure, bignou or biniou, 
etc.; German Dudelsack, Sackpfeife; Italian cornamusa, 
piva, pifjero, zampogna [also the name among many 
Gipsies]; Galician Spanish gaita; Russian volynka; Irish 
greatpipe, piob tnor, piob Uilleann, union-pipes; Tamil 
sruti; Hindustani masak; etc.). 

As a folk instrument in medieval Europe, the bag- 
pipe served as accompaniment for religious observances, 
for weddings and funerals, for dances. May games, and 
impromptu festivities. It was thought to have a peculiar 
charm for animals, to be beloved by fairies, to be the 
Devil's instrument, and to have the power of speech. 

Processions of the early Irish Christian church moved 
to the sound of the bagpipe, and its wailing music sup- 
ported the keen at funerals. Roman Catholic services 
in Edinburgh, especially outdoor rites, sometimes in- 
cluded bagpipe music as late as the 16th century. In 
Italy, where Calabrian pipers were noted for their skill, 
the bagpipe accompanied folk singing before statues of 
the Virgin and Child in pre-Christmas ceremonies. In 
Brussels, in 1529, a feast for the Virgin was observed 
with a masque in which wild beasts danced around a 
cage where two ape characters played the bagpipes. In 
England, in 1584, a piper named Cochrane played at 
the Coventry Mysteries. 

For dancing, the bagpipes appeared along with the 
pibgorn and the pipe and tabor at country dances and 
Morrises, the piper being a character in the dance. 
Lincolnshire or Lancashire pipers, both esteemed for 
virtuosity, were regularly hired by the great English 
houses to play for the dancing of the common people 
at Yuletide. Street dancing led by bagpipers became 
such a disturbance of the peace in 16th century Scotland 
that laws w r ere passed forbidding the playing of pipes on 
Sunday and after supper. Wandering pipers of Germany 
gathered village groups to dance to the dudelsack, and 
Gipsies of eastern Europe played for weddings, dances, 
and feasts on the zampogna. The national dances of 
Hungarians, Bulgarians, and Serbians, as well as sword 
dances of the Scots and Irish, were traditionally footed 
to pipe tunes. 

Bagpipes also entered into -work activities. Hiring of 
pipers to set the pace for harvest hands in England is 
recorded, and the rat-catchers of continental European 


towns, frequently Gipsies, pursued their trade to the 
drone of the pipes, even as the Pied Piper of Hamclin is 
supposed to have done in 1284. Shepherds of centra! 
Europe and the Near East were believed to be able to 
draw their flocks in by the alluring strains of their 
crude goatskin pipes. 

The instrument was also thought to be especially at- 
tractive to bears, whose heavy dancing steps were di- 
rected by Gipsy pipers, and in India and Ceylon a 
primitive bagpipe has been used for centuries by snake 

Animal players of the instrument are depicted in 
many medieval sculptures and woodcuts in churches, 
the favorites being bears, monkeys, and hogs. An Irish 
version of the song, Frog I Vent a-Courting, brings in a 
snail bagpiper as one of the wedding guests. Angels, too, 
are shown puffing gaily on the pipes, though it was 
more often associated with demons. A 15th century 
woodcut shows it in the hands of a skeleton figure in a 
dance of death. 

As a military instrument, the pipes were played by 
the Romans during their colonization of Britain, by 
French regimental pipers up to the 19th century, and 
have made the battle music of the Irish and Scottish 
foot soldier since the Middle Ages. The piob mor, war 
pipe of ancient Ireland, advanced at the head of the 
kerns against British, French, and Scottish enemies, its 
wild music bringing terror to the opposition as the 
pipers played in the thick of the battle. The great 
Highland pipe of Scotland has served to whip the fight- 
ing spirit of Scotsmen in clan feuds, in the Stuart cause, 
and even in the World War II battle of El Alamcin. 
Scarcely a battle in which the pipes figured is without 
its legend of a heroic piper who, though wounded or 
cut off from his regiment, played to his death to hold 
off defeat. 

The position of the piper has varied considerably in 
legend and history. Though generally not so esteemed 
by the aristocracy as the harper or minstrel, he often 
came in for marked royal favor. In ancient Ireland 
pipers and jugglers were admitted to the king's house 
and made free of his beer. Both English and Irish no- 
bility often maintained bagpipers on their regular pay- 
rolls for the entertainment of their servants and guests. 
In the 15th century in Scotland, many towns supported 
hereditary town pipers, who were lodged at public ex- 
pense and sometimes given a grant of land called “the 
piper’s croft.” Vienna, too, had its town pipers, selected 
from the musicians’ guild. In France, during the 17th 
century, the bagpipe became fashionable at court, the 
musette, a highly decorated bellows pipe, being taken 
up by the ladies, and a royal piper, Destouchcs, becom- 
ing a court favorite. 

So loyal were the household pipers of the Irish and 
Scots and so effective their music in battle that the En- 
glish passed lavs against them. In Ireland it was made 
illegal to harbor pipers, story-tellers, and rimers be- 
cause they acted as spies, and Scottish pipers of the 
Jacobite period were put to death if captured, their 
pipes being considered instruments of war. 

Stories about bagpipes and pipers are of several types. 
One type concerns ghosts, changelings, and other evil 
spirits. Seventeenth century popular belief often made 
the bagpipe Satan's favorite instrument, the Devil’s bel- 
lows. Witches were executed on the accusation that they 


had danced to the Devil’s piping. There are Highla .1 
tales of ghostly pipes playing at dusk in the loncsom 
hill passes where some defeat or retreat of the Tacoli i C 
took place. One famous Scottish chanter was saidT 
crack as a propheq- of the death of the dan's cl ' 
Another was said to have carried magic powers in battl 
for the Grants and the MacPhersons. 

A second Celtic story type concerns fairies. The etct 
coated ones in their mounds loved the music of th 
pipes, played and taught it. and gave special favors to 
pipers. Many of these stories are of the Rip Van Il’inlh 
variety, in which a piper is lured away with the fairies 
plays for them for what seems a few moments, and re 
turns home to find that years have passed. Sometimes 
he returns with a magic token, perhaps a new set 0 f 
pipes, given to him by the fairies and proving the actu- 
ality of the experience. Other stories common in many 
lands tell of shepherds who frighten thieves or wild 
animals by the playing of their pipes. 

On Skye and Mull particularly there is a traditional 
story pattern dealing with a piper who, with a dc^ or 
some friends, enters a cave inhabited by a demon or 
wild beast. The dog or the friends return without him 
and the last sound that is heard is the piper’s lament 
for his own fate, often with the words, "Oh, that 1 had 
three hands; two for the pipes and one for the sword.” 
On stormy nights the melancholy piping still comes 
from such caves, it is said. 

The message of the pipes is characteristic of man; 
Scottish tales. One such, crediting the instrument with 
the power of speech, is A Cholla mo Run. It tells of a 
piper who was captured during the absence of his chid 
from home and held prisoner while an ambush is 
plotted for the chief’s return. When the chief is seen 
coming, the piper plays him a warning, which he hears 
and understands. However, the enemy also understands 
the language of the pipes and the piper is killed. 

Bagpipe music includes reels, strathspeys, laments, 
marches, pibrochs (variations on a theme called the 
urlar), etc. The MacCrimmon "Lament for the Mc- 
Leod," "The White Cockade,” and "Flowers of the 
Forest" arc among the most famous bagpipe tunes, [tce] 

Bahiana Literally, a Bahian woman, but by extension 
a term used to designate Bahian Negro women who are 
members of African cult groups. Their distinctive dress, 
popularized in the motion pictures by Carmen Miranda 
and others, is a more colorful counterpart of the drtss 
of Negro women in many parts of the New World. The 
Bahiana of today appears on the street in her traditional 
dress, most often as a seller of cooked foods, or in pro- 
cessions on festival days; and she is likely to be a woman 
well into middle age. [mjii] 

Bahram fire or Bcrczisavanli The sacred fire of Iran, 
which represents the essence of all fires and is made 
from 16 diflcrcnt kinds of fire: the earthly represen- 
tative of the divine essence. The Bahram fire is main- 
tained in the great temples and is fed sandalwood five 
times a day by a priest. The Bahram is one of the five 
sacred fires of Iranian religion. It is the one which 
shoots up before Ahura Mazda. The other kinds recog- 
nized in Iran are Vohu Fry ana (literally, good friend) 
which keeps the bodies of men and animals warm, 
Urvazishta (most delightful) the fire of plants which 
produces flame by friction, Vazishta (best-carrying) the 



lightning, and Sps-iiishta (most holy) which burns lit 
Paradise. Sec NaiuvAunt.iia. 

Bahrnmgoror Bahrain Gur Hero-prince of many ail- 
ventures, probably a Sassanian king of Persia of the 5th 
century A.D. He is said to be the father of Persian 
poetry, anti is often a character in Indian talcs, [mm] 

Baiamc The great totemic ancestor of the Kamilaroi 
and other tril>e< in New South Wales, who lived in the 
niwliiral past and originated totemi'iu ami other cus- 
totns. He answers invocations for tain and figures in 
initiation and other cctnnonics. He left mementos be- 
hind him which include a large stone fish ttap on the 
Barwan Kiser. He had two wives, Cnnncmbeillce. by 
whom lie had children, and Hiirahgnootoo, his favorite, 
who sends HikkIs on rcspiest. The tlnce arc now in the 
sky. Women may not tne Baiame's name lint call hint 
"Father." The theory of early w riters that he was a kind 
of All-Father, a vague, otiose, spiritual being, trow has 
manv critics. See At'vrrt suan .snotm.iNSt. MVTitot/rr.v. 


bade dc cintas or baile del cordon The Spanish rib- 
bon or Mas pole rlance, still pcifomtcd rercmonially by 
men at fiestas aronntl a Howrr-dcchrd pile, in Valencia. 
Castillc, Hticsca. and Tcttciilfc and clsewhrtc in tlic 
Canary Blands. In Catalonia it forms part of tire Car- 
nival cclchrations by With men and girls. In I’ortngal 
it celebrates St. John's Day, June 1M. The pole is called 
St. John's pole, and is surmounted by a puppet. The 
Basque cinta dantza is a furious roursc following the 
sword dance or eipe.Ux danlut. 

In Mexico the baile dc cintas is often performed as 
patt of a longer .sequence, as by the Yatpti niatnchitii 
and Pueblo negrittn dancers and the Identities of Pa- 
panda, Vera Crur ( volntlorrt ). In hmiipillpan, Hidalgo, 
both men ant! women participate in sjiecial costumes. 
In Yucatan it forms part of the Caruasal. Both in the 
Old and New World it is an ancient spring celebration 
around a sacred budding tree, hut has Iiecn renamed 
and iccostttmcd in Mexico, [r.n;] 
baile tie la rclstcrna laterally, dance of the well: a 
Spanish dance of the Island of Majorca, performed 
especially for the fiesta of San Salvador. August fi. With 
arms upraised and little fatware! jumps, termed tnr.leixa, 
the dancers approach the sacred well. 'I hey describe a 
rigrag path typical of marts fertility riles. The dance 
retains much of this ritual significance in its worship of 
water, well, rain, [r.j’gJ 

ItailifTs Daughter o/ Islington An F.nglish ballad 
(Child ilOj) of separated losers. The bailin'* daughter 
and the squire's *ott meet on the road after *cscn years. 
When she tells hint that his loser i< dead, lie savs lie 
will go "into some far countrcy." w-hcrcn|>oit she makes 
herself known. 'Hie theme, sviih roles reversed, is found 
in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romaic ballads. 
The ballad is known in tire United States, as for ex- 
ample The nailer’s Daughter of Ireland Town (reported 
from New Jersey) and The Cnrnrly Youth (Mississippi) 
where Islington becomes "Hn/lingtown." 

baingnn, baigan, begun, or !>han(u Literally, egg- 
plant: in the folktale, "Baingatn BAdsluIi/Adl." told as 
Princess Aubergine" in Tales of the Punjab collected 
by F. A. Steele, Baingau was a princess born ftom an 
eggplant and brought up by a poor Brfihman couple. A 

neighboring queen Jealous of her beauty decided to kill 
her by magic. In trying to discover Baingnn’s life token, 
the queen killed her own seven sons. Finally she discov- 
ered the token to he the nine-lnkli necklace hidden in 
a box in a bee in a fish. Tire princess died as soon as 
the queen obtained the necklace, but she was laid out 
in the forest by the BrAhman couple who neither buried 
nor cremated her. There the king found her and daily 
watched beside the body which svas as fresh and beauti- 
ful as ff alive. After a year, the king found a child lie- 
side tlic body who told hint that his mother was alive at 
night when the queen removed the necklace, but dead 
in the daytime while the queen wore it. The child got 
possession of the necklace and the king and princess 
were married. They hurled the malicious queen in a 
ditch filled with serpents and scorpions. 

bajang or badjang In Malay belief, a malignant spirit 
whose presence forclells disaster and is the cause of ill- 
ness, The bajang is said to lake the form of a polecat 
and Is scry dangerous to children. In some areas of the 
Malay peninsula the bajang is the enslaved spirit of a 
stillborn child, obtained at midnight by incantations 
said over the grave. As a familiar it is handed down in 
a family. It is kept in a bamboo vessel, fed eggs and 
milk, and sent forth to prey upon victims who arc 
seized by unknown ailments when attacked. 

hakeruono Generic term for the goblins of Japanese 
folklore, [jl.'t] 

bakm Surinam form of the West African "little 
people." who arc brought into lieing by practitioners of 
evil magic. Belief in them is especially strong in Para- 
itiaribo. the capital of Dutch Guiana, and other parts 
of the coastal area. Ilakni come in pairs, one male and 
one female. They arc envisaged as the sire of children, 
with large heads, and as half-flesh and half-wood. They 
arc obtained by compact with a worker of evil magic, 
for the purjKwc of bringing the owner covctcsl wealth. 
The price paid for titan is in meeting their exacting 
demands. In rhe end. it is (relieved, the family of tlic 
owner is destroyed by the gmls and ancestors in punish- 
ment for these antisocial acts, [mjii] 

Balaam The last and greatest of the heathen prophet* 
of Biblical tradition (.Viim. xxii-xxiv). Balaam, son of 
the prophet llcor, was himself prophet of I’cthor ill 
Mesopotamia. As a piophci and diviner he was equal 
to Mows in everything hut moral sense. Because he was 
cruel and triesl to destroy a whole nation, God per- 
mitted no more heathen prophets. Balaam had, accord- 
ing to rabbinical tradition, one c)t- and was lame in one- 
foot. By some lie is held to have been identical with 

When Balak, king of Monb, became uneasy about the 
spread of the Israelites into nearby territory, lie sent 
for Balaam. Balaam, to whom as to all heathen prophets 
the Lord spoke only at night, kept the- envoys, and then 
refused to go with than when forbidden to by God. A 
further embassy met with better luck, for God per- 
mitted the prophet to go if lie would repeat God’s 
words when the time ramc. A Mohammedan story says 
that the ambassadors bribed Balaam’s wife, and that 
her nagging was tlic real cause of his going to Balak. On 
the way, in a narrow path, the Angel of Mercy, invisible 
to Balaam, descended and stood in the way of Ins ass. 


The ass refused to go on, and Balaam whipped the 
beast. Three times this happened and the third time 
the ass spoke, reproaching his master, and then died, 
since animals could not be permitted to rival men in 
speech. Here for example the stupidest of beasts, the 
ass, outargued Balaam, the greatest of prophets. The 
speaking mouth of the ass teas one of the traditional 
twelve miraculous things created on the sixth day. 

balatn In Quiche mythology, the tigre or jaguar; a 
supernatural; a magician. The mythical ancestors of 
the Quichfi, associated with the four directions, bore 
the names Balam-Quitze (Smiling Tiger), Balam-Agab 
(Nocturnal Tiger), Iqi-Balam (Moon Tiger), and Mahu- 
catah (Famous Name), probably a euphemism for a 
feared Tiger or Sorcerer name. Among the Mayans of 
present-day Mexico, the balams are magical beings 
whose special province is the protection of villages and 
their inhabitants and the cornfields. 

balance and swing An American square-dance term. 
The gentleman places his right arm around the lady's 
waist and takes her right hand in his left, while she 
places her left hand on his arm below the shoulder. In 
this position he swings her to the right about. It is 
usual for couples to stving completely around twice, 
though they may swing once. If they arc skilful and in 
the mood for it, they may stving three or four times. 

Balder or Baldr Norse god of light and joy; son of 
Odin and Frigga, and twin brother of Hodur: one of 
the most impouant and the best loved of the ;esir. The 
story of Balder's death from a spear of mistletoe, the 
only thing that had not promised not to harm him, and 
thrown by Hodur, the blind, at the instigation of Loki, 
and of the descents of Odin and of Hcrmod to the 
underworld, forms a prominent part of the Norse legend 
of the approach of Ragnarok. In the Scandinavian 
tradition, as told by Saxo Grammaticus, Balder is slain 
by Hodur, who wields a magic sword, in a fight over 
the beautiful Nanna. Compare Adonis; descents to the 
underworld; Twins. 

Bali In Hindu mythology, king of the Daityas, son of 
Virochana, Hiranyakasipu, or Prahlada. By his devotion 
he humbled the gods and obtained dominion over the 
three worlds. Vishnu appeared to him as Vamana, the 
dwarf, and asked for as much land as he could cover in 
three strides. When the request was granted. Vishnu 
stepped over heaven and earth and, out of respect for 
Bali's goodness, then made a short stride, leaving Bali 
the underworld. He is also called Mahabali. Compare 


Bali or Balin In Hindu mythology, the monkey king 
of Kishkindhya, the son of Indra, who was slain by 
Rama. Bali was supposed to have been born from his 
mother’s hair. 

balian The general Indonesian term for a medium. 
The balian communicates with the spirits while in a 
trance to learn how to protect indiviu is and the com- 
munity. He also conducts purification i .es, is a diviner, 
and knows the formulas and charms uted to protect the 
rice granaries and property. 

Balitao A Philippine peasant dance in mazurka 
rhythm, descriptive of work movements, planting, reap- 
ing, and winnowing the rice, [gpk] 


Balkis The Queen of Sheba: in Abyssinianr^' 
Mohammedan, and European tradition TheRTw' 1 ’ 
story states simply that, hearing of Solomon’s via' 
she visited him, found his fame not so great as th ° 0 ' 
of his wisdom, and departed (I Kings x, K] 9 \ le f atl 
of Abyssinia, however, trace their line back to \\ • 

supposedly the son of Solomon and the Queen of cS 1 ’ 
In Mohammedan tradition, Solomon requires Balk' * 
Bilkis to submit to him as overlord and adopt h' 
ligion. After testing his wisdom, she accedes' andh! 
comes his wife. Both the Arabian and Jewish tra V ■ 
arc much embellished with stories of Solomon’s conM 
over birds, animals, and spirits and demons, with id • "? 
he threatens her. Traditionally, she propounds a se' 
of riddles which he answers without trouble (Gin J*” 
lists 22). ' ' r S 

ballad "jV form of narrative folk song, developed ■ 
the Middle Ages in Europe, to which has been applied 
very ambiguously the name ballad (Danish vise. Span 
ish romance, Russian bylina, Ukrainian rfitmf, Serbia 
junaclia pesme, etc.). This type of folk song varies con" 
sidcrnbly with time and place, but certain characteristics 
remain fairly constant and seemingly fundamental- n 
A ballad is narrative. 2) A ballad is sung. 3) A ballad be- 
longs to the folk in content, style, and designation. 1) A 
ballad focuses on a single incident. 5) A ballad is i m . 
personal, the action moving of itself by dialog and inti- 
dent quickly to the cnd^S 
A ballad is story. Of the four elements common to all 
narrative— action, character, setting, and themc-thc bal- 
lad emphasizes the first. Setting is casual; theme is often 
implied; characters are usually types and even when 
more individual arc undeveloped, but action carries the 
interest. The action is usually highly dramatic, often 
startling and all the more impressive because it is unre- 
lieved. Tire ballad practices a rigid economy in relating 
the action; incidents antecedent to the climax are often 
omitted, as arc explanatory and motivating details. The 
action is usually of a plot sort and the plot often reduced 
to the moment of climax; that is, of the unstable situa- 
tion and the resolution which constitutes plot, the ballad 
often concentrates on the resolution leaving the listener 
to supply details and antecedent material.'-'’ 

Almost without exception ballads were sung; often 
they were accompanied by instrumental music. The 
tunes arc traditional and probably as old as the words, 
but of the two— story and melody— story is basic. Many 
ballads were sung to a variety of melodies. Unlike lyric 
songs in which the meaning is not so important and 
which arc consequently subordinated to the music, bal- 
lads, in which the contrary situation obtains, always 
subordinate the melody to the words^lore variety exists 
in ballad music than in ballad form and content, for it 
ranges from tile modal types of the West, based on the 
Gregorian, to the more florid and ornamental types oi 
Greece, the Balkans, and Russia owing much to Byzan- 
tine tradition. Here and there, as for example among 
the South Slavs, instead of melody the ballad is often 
accompanied by rhythmical chant, almost recitative. 
The point is, of course, that the ballad is not simply re- 
cited or told, but given interpretation and emotional 
power by the accompanying melody. 

ballad belongs to the folk, but it is by no means 
primitive or barbaric; rather it is the product of accom- 
plished and often literary-conscious poets. The folk of 



the ballad have behind them a long tradition, a tradi- 
tion partly conditioned and shaped by conscious and 
lettered culture. The folk are unlettered, rather than 
illiterate. They are homogeneous, interested in one an- 
other, in the dramatic aspects of life. They have a great 
store of traditional story stuff— marchen and folktale, 
and a store of folklore, part of which is with them only 
conventional and half-believed in. So the ballad is likely 
to be a compound of folklore, legend, and local history. 
Through the years the folk have their way with the bal- 
lad, shaping it, varying it in theme, incident, and style, 
putting their unmistakable touch upon it. j- 

The last two points may be discussed together. The 
ballad takes a single incident, as does the short story, 
brings that into sharp and economical focus. In this re- 
spect it is unlike the folktale or epic which develop 
their stories through a series of incidents episodically. 
This stripping the story of all excrescences of descrip- 
tion, motivation, incidental material, and especially of 
editorializing, results not only in utter impersonality but 
in a "gapped" narrative in which the reader gets only 
the moments of most dramatic action. 

The Danish ballad. Sir Peter’s Leman, is typical. It is 
very short— twenty-one couplets— but it evokes a dra- 
matic and complex story. Sir Peter and Kirsteen, his 
sweetheart, are “jesting” with one another as they sit 
over their meal. "When will you take a wife?” she asks. 
Sir Peter answers with a joke. Kirsteen comments that 
when he does take a wife, she will go to the bridal 
though it “were two hundred miles." (Stanza 6) With no 
transition, no explanation the ballad plunges into the 
etents of the marriage feast, telling of Kirsteen pouring 
the wine. (Stanza 7) The bride asks who she is. A serv- 
ing-maid tells her that Kirsteen is Sir Peter’s love. 
Abruptly the ballad passes to the next scene, the bring- 
ing of the bride to bed, Kirsteen bearing the bridal torch. 

“The sheets of silk o'er the bed she drew 
There lies the swain I loved so true.” 

The next stanza tells of Kirsteen locking the door and 
setting the house on fire, so the “bride must bum on the 
bridegroom's arm." 

These three scenes told largely through dialog give 
us the story. This technique is more common in the 
Western ballads than in the Eastern, but even in the Rus- 
sian ballad the story is basically developed by a succes- 
sion of scenes rather than by alternation of scene and 

In addition to these primary characteristics one should 
note certain secondary characteristics. Sometimes the 
ballad was accompanied by dance. Frequently this was 
so in the Scandinavian countries, but it was rare in Eng- 
land and found only sporadically in other parts of 
Europe. We cannot think of the ballad as basically a 
dance song, but must realize that occasionally it was 
adapted to that purpose. Likewise many ballads contain 
a refrain— a word, phrase, line or several lines— repeated 
after each stanza, or sometimes interwoven with the 
stanza. But the refrain, though common in the English 
and Germanic ballad is not generally characteristic of 
ballad. Certain stylistic qualities are fairly constant, such 
as the use of stereotyped expressions so common to folk 
poetry in general, the use of repetition of line and inci- 
dent. of incremental repetition, triad arrangement, cli- 
max of relations, and the testament device. These sec- 

ondary characteristics partly account for the wide variety 
in the ballad as one passes from one country to another 
and from one time to another. The constant element in 
the ballad is the form and the manner of telling a story. 

The problem of ballad origins has occupied the atten- 
tion of folklorists and balladists from the beginning of 
ballad studies. Much confusion about the matter of 
origin comes from the failure of the first scholars, such 
as Herder, Grimm, Gummere, in not making clear the 
distinction between ballad and folk song in general. 
They saw in the ballad a continuing tradition from 
primitive times and consequently applied to ballad con- 
clusions arrived at from a study of primitive folk song 
in general. And so was bom the communal theory, that 
the folk made the ballads by a kind of communal im- 
provisation, a kind of cooperative composition. Later 
critics (e.g. Kittredge) accepted this explanation but with 
modification. Feeling that the folk is too indefinite, too 
unorganized for such concerted effort, they suggested 
that ballads were composed by the folk under the direc- 
tion of a leader who brought the necessary discipline into 
the composition and who functioned as organizer and se- 
lector. But they felt that the folk contributed much of 
the matter. At the present time, however, most scholars 
favor out-and-out individual authorship. They point out 
that the ballad is certainly the product of the late Mid- 
dle Ages, that it is certainly not a product of a primitive 
society, that it is a highly artful and rather difficult 
form, that the music is intimately and fundamentally a 
part of it. All of this would argue for conscious trained 
authorship. Minstrels, clerks, clericals, wandering schol- 
ars have all been suggested as the professionals who 
originated and perfected the form. After an individual 
ballad was composed, then the folk came in. Ballads 
were oral. The folk took them over. Through the years 
of singing them the folk modified them, changed them, 
improved them sometimes, sometimes debased them, 
but the folk had their way with them, and over the years 
put their mark upon them. And it is a distinguishing 
mark and an unmistakable one. 

The main body of English and Scottish ballads is to 
be found in the great collection of F. J. Child (1882- 
1898). This great work contains 305 separate ballads and 
many variants divided between England and Scotland. 
It is sometimes difficult to separate the English from the 
Scottish, for often some variants of the same ballad are 
Scottish, others English. One variant of Edward, lor ex- 
ample, is English, the other Scottish. The Three Ravens 
is English; the Turn Corbies, Scottish. In general the 
English pieces seem more realistic and more sophisti- 
cated. Here are the Robin Hood ballads, the larger 
group of historical ballads, the romantic and sentimental 
love ballads. The Scottish, on the other hand, are more 
stark, shorter. Most of the fairy-lore and supernatural 
ballads are Scottish, as are the short tragic ballads and 
ballads of the Border. But the ballad passed freely not 
only between England and Scotland but between the 
British Isles and Germanic Europe. 

The texts of most English and Scottish ballads are 
16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The actual date of com- 
position is in many cases much earlier. The earliest bal- 
lad text extant is that of Judas found in a 13th century 
manuscript now in Trinity College, Cambridge. Some of 
the Robin Hood ballads certainly belong to the 14th 
century, but probably more of the extant English ballads 


belong to periods after the 15th century, rather than be- 
fore. Even though few ballads arc as early as the Middle 
Ages, the ballad as a form of narrative poetry emerged 
in the medieval period. It is certainly not a part of 
primitive poetry and consequently is not to he compared 
with songs and stories of savages. Culturally the ballad 
everywhere is post-epic. 

The best known of all English ballads arc the Rohm 
Hood ballads. It matters little whether Robin Hood ac- 
tually lived or not. The Robin Hood we know is pure 
folk ballad creation and the only character in English 
balladry around whom a cycle of ballads has developed, 
for the English ballad with the exception of A Gestc of 
Robin Hood is short and non-cyclic: that is each ballad 
tells an individual story and there is no tendency to 
carry one hero from ballad to ballad, as is so common in 
other European countries. A Gestc of Robin Hood is cer- 
tainly a literary product. Probably sometime before 1100 
a ballad poet combined several ballads concerned with 
Robin Hood with transitional material of his own, weav- 
ing them into this long popular heroic poem of -150 four- 
line stanzas. Here Robin Hood appears characteristically 
as a popular hero though an outlaw, for he robs the rich 
to give to the poor and escapes apprehension by in- 
credible feats of agility and daring. Many of the ballads 
of Robin Hood and his men of the Lincoln Green ap- 
pear through the 15th, lfith, and 17th centuries. The 
best are the earliest; the later Robin Hood ballads show 
degeneration and even debasement of the character of 
Robin Hood himself. Late in the tradition Maid Marian 
drifts into the story from medieval pastoral poetry to 
add a romantic touch, foreign, of course, to the tradi- 
tional story. Robin Hood is not the only outlaw' in Eng- 
lish ballad. Other ballads of this character are Adam 
Dell and William of Cloudcsly, Johnny o'Cocklry's Well, 
The Outlaw Murry, Sir Andrew Darton (Henry Mar- 
tyn), Johnie Cock. This last, an extremely interesting 
ballad full of old folk belief and custom, relates the 
heroic death of an outlaw. 

The finest of the English and Scottish ballads arc the 
tragic ballads. Most of them arc Scottish and most of 
them arc early. Typical arc Sir Patrick Spent, The Twa 
Sisters, The Cruel Brother, Lord Randal, Edward, Baby- 
lon, Lccsomc Brand, Twa Corbies. Many of these are 
widely dispersed over Europe. Edward, for example, is 
found throughout the Scandinavian countries and in 
Finland; Lord Randal as far as Italy. 

Particularly charming for their romantic and imagina- 
tive character are the fairy and enchantment ballads. 
Three of the finest arc Thomas Rymer, Tam Lin,\ 
Isabel and the Elf-Knight. The first tells of Thomas 
Rymer's visit to fairyland; the second of the rescue by 
his mortal sweetheart of Tam Lin, bespclled and cap- 
tured by the fairy. Lady Isabel is a widely known Euro- 
pean ballad; it recounts Lady Isabel’s escape from an 
elf-knight by trickery. Other ballads of this type treat of 
the fairy mistress (lover) theme, of changelings, fairy 
nurses, fairy enchantment, fairy forest, fairy music and 
its bespelling power. Several ballads like Kemp Owyne 
and the Laily Worm are concerned with enchantment 
wrought by mortals, usually stepmothers, and the un- 
spelling by kisses of someone intrepid enough to kiss the 
victim in her loathly form. Here and there among the 
ballads is found the semisupcrnatural character Billy 
Blin (Blind Barlow, Billy Blind, etc.). lie functions as a 

108 , 

household familiar assisting the hero with adr~ ✓ 
information. He is cunning and well-versed in '** 
magic. He seems to belong rather to the dwarf f 

than to the tradition or the fairy. Allied with J'P C 
and enchantment ballads arc those concerned with *? f 

dead who return, revenants from the world of th ' i 
The Unquiet Grave is based on the belief that too^ l 
weeping over the dead disturbs their rest. The [n^ ; 

Usher’s Well relates the visit of three dead sons to' h-' 
sorrowing mother. The Suffolk Miracle, a widesn/t 
European ballad the original of which is pro Ly‘ 
Greek, is the dramatic story of the dead lover who r 
turns to carry off bis sweetheart. It is the source 'i 
Btirger’s Lenore. (See nrj.ii rtrnrR.) c 

Justly famous among English and Scottish ballads are 
the Border Ballads. These arc spirited recitals of border 
feuds, of cattle raids, and of conflicts between Endy, 
and Scotch, suggestive of the stufl out of which in eatlw 
culture the epic grew. The most famous arc The Hint- 
ing of the Cheviot, The Battle of Otlerburn, fob-:, 
Armstrong. Most of these arc realistic and generally lit. 

It is interesting that the English ballads have little to 
do with oh] Germanic mythology and tradition, r .or 
much concern with Christian legend and theme. Then 
arc some few of the latter like Judas, St. Stephen er.j 
Herod, The Cherry Tree Carol. 

The old ballads were brought to America by the carlt 
settlers and even today can be found widespread anrani 
the folk of the outlying regions. Such ballads as Baibas 
Allen, Lord Lovel, The Cruel Mother, Lord Raids], 
I-ndy Isabel, The Gypsie Laddie, The Golden I'esin 
arc widely found. About one third of the traditional 
ballads arc still sung in America. A few narrative soap 
more or less in the old ballad form and in old halhl 
style have been composed in America. Springfield Mess- 
lain, Frankie and Johnny (or Albert) John Henry, Jesse 
James, Casey Jones, The Little Brown Bulls are typial 

A great stock of fine ballads exists in Danish dating 
from the 11th century. Like the English they show a va- 
riety of themes: historical, supernatural and magical, 
realistic, stories of the trials and joys of everyday lift, 
love, and blood feuds. Many of them arc analogs of the 
English. The historical ballads, like epic stories, glorify 
the virtues of bravery, loyalty, and honor in the lives and 
characters of the national heroes. Some of the best of 
these concern Stig Hvidc who dies valiantly defending 
the king's standard; King AValdmar and his wife, Sophie, 
and bis mistress, silken-dad Tovc: Niels Ebbeson, who 
rid llie country of a foreign oppressor; and the half- 
dozen ballads dealing with the conflict between Manl 
Stig and King Erik. There is a general tendency toward 
cyclic development among these historical ballads, for 
they roughly group themselves into the following divi- 
sions: 1) Those concerned with Waldmar, bis queen, 
and his mistress. 2) The exploits of Marsk Stig. 3) The 
cycle of AValdmar II and Dagmar. This is a tendenq 
hardly found in English but common enough in the 
eastern ballad. 

The Danish supernatural ballads generally lack the 
airiness and grace of the English; they arc concerned 
mostly with trolls, mermaids, mermen, werewolves, 
magic runes, transformation. In The Mermaid’s Spann * 
a captured mermaid reads the future for the queen. 
Agnes and the Merman is the story of the love between 


him ill his exploits against the Turks. In many of these 
stories the fabulous and supernatural are linked with 
the historical. 

Another and larger cycle is that of Kiev. These stories, 
now found only in the north, were originally Ukrainian 
stories and were probably founded on fact. The central 
figure is Vladimir I (10th century). Most of the stories 
relate the exploits of his druzliina. Here arc mostly 
stories of adventure, but now and then personal narra* 
lives like those more frequently found in ballad appear. 
The most important characters in this qcle arc Do- 
brynya, Ilya of Murom, Nikitich, Aljosa Popoiich, 
Nastasya, Dyuk Stepanovich, Mikhailo. The latter is the 
hero of a fantastic story involving many folklore motifs, 
swan maiden, water of life, petrification. It is impossible 
here to give more than a suggestion of this material so 
varied and extensive it is. 

The dumi of the Ukraine are different, for the Ukraine 
was subject from the late Middle Ages on to much West- 
ern influence. Their ballads arc more conventional in 
form and subject. They rime; many of them arc stanzaic. 
The music is definitely melodic. Their subjects are of a 
more domestic sort— love, courtship, marriage, faithful- 
ness or lack of it, death. They arc more impersonal, less 
inclined to celebrate great heroes. A number of the dumi 
arc based on historical themes, recounting battles against 
the Turks and Poles, raiding expeditions that suggest the 
English and Scottish border. Here too can be found a 
number of ballads general to all Europe. 

The folk poetry of Yugoslav ia falls into two somewhat 
arbitrary groups: the junai'ke pesme. men's songs, and 
the zenske pesme, women's songs. The junaCkc pesme arc 
heroic and narrative, the Jcnskc pesme. lyric, often love 
songs. Unlike the men's songs the women's songs were 
often danced to. The men's songs arc distinctly heroic; 
in fact they represent really an epic urge working itself 
out in the shorter narrative form. Typical arc the story 
poems telling of the exploits of Marco Kraljcvid, the 
famous Yugoslav hero, killed probably in the battle of 
Rovine, 1394. The ballad of Marco and Andrija shows 
analogical relation to Edward and to the Two Itrothers. 
In a quarrel Marco drives his sword into his brother’s 
heart. Dying, Andrija begs Marco not to let his mother 
know what happened. When she asks whv the sword is 
bloody Marco is to say that he has just killed a stag. If 
she asks for Andrija, Marco is to say that he has been bc- 
spcllcd by a lady and lured to the land of no return. He 
then tells Marco to call on him by name whenever he 
needs aid in battle. In The Marriage of Marco Marco 
through the help of his faithful falcon secures as wife 
one of the vile (beautiful supernatural winged maidens). 
After living with him for several years and bearing him 
a child, the vila one day gets possession of her wings, 
which Marco had kept from her, and flics away. Put the 
story, unlike the swan maiden stories, ends by Marco 
getting the lady back and their living happily ever after. 
Marco Kraljevic and the Arab King’s Daughter tells the 
story of Marco’s escape from prison by aid of the jailer’s 
daughter who loved him. These stories arc the usual 
compound of physical adventure of an exaggerated sort 
and folklore. Some seem very like folktales translated 
into ballad form. 

More dramatic and more poetic arc the fine stories 
that form the cycle of Kosovo. These stories were in- 
spired by the battle of Kosovo (1389) in which the Turks 


defeated the Serbs. Characteristic is the ballad T . 
o/ the Serbian Kingdom, which describes theh, C 
whole, making the defeat of the Serbs inevbsi 1 
therefore dramatic and tragic. Many of the hi, ^ 
this qcle particularize events of the battle In Thn b 
of Jugovici’s Mother, the mother receiving «, 
hand of her son dead on the field of battle 

lament and dies. Simple pathos is found i. 

of Kosovo. At daybreak the maiden goes 

ln ThcMa;~ 

tleficld, turns over the bodies of the slain wfa^i' 
blood from their faces, searching f or her lover 1 t’ 
qcle arc some of the finest of European ballads ° 

In Yugoslavia are to be found a goodly nUffiba 
ballads dealing with religious story, of which theh, 
group is hagiographic, often with a touch of didactij? 
The stories of supernatural characters form a 
group, mostly concerned with dragons and vile. n, 
Walling o/ Skadar has interesting European anabJ 
Three brothers try to build a wall around the town t- 
each night the wall is destroyed by a vila. Finally tb 
vila tells them that they must immure whichever Va 
brings their dinner on the next day. Two of the bro:H 
warn their wives; consequently the wife of the third b 
walled up. Tor a year she suckles her child throujh a 
hole in the wall and ever after milk Cows fromW, 

In Bulgaria most of the ballads arc concerned rii 
supernatural characters and themes: samodiva, heir 
dragons, Charontcs, fates, snakes, talking birds and arf. 
mals, bcspelling music, magic instruments-the vvhole c: 
Bulgarian folklore crowds into ballad story. The ra 
and moon appear as supernatural characters in mauve! 
these ballads, as they do in Yugoslavia. Another fa. 
portant type is the love ballad— largely stories of sedec- 
tion, trickery, and tragic love. Latin Andro end .tfa-' 
Marica tells of the protracted grief of Marica at tie 
death of Andro, and of her being murdered on his grave 
by her jealous husband. As she lies there, the handsel 
the two lovers meet beneath the sod. A rose grows lira 
Marica and a stream of cool water flows former lie- 
Andro's side. 

The ballad in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria has had vices 
ous growth from the Middle Ages to the present fa 
Yugoslavia it is one of the most important of all types 
of literature. It has played a large part in keeping alive 
tradition, and solidifying the people against outride 

The folk songs of France arc largely lyrical. lVh: 
narrative folk songs do exist arc reworked from lyric c: 
borrowed from abroad. The pastourelle is typical of lb; 
lyric-narrative. It is far removed from the troenamth: 
song like the ballad, for the narrative of the pesloart".! 
is generalized, patterned, and subordinate. The best rf 
the French narrative folk songs have drifted in free 
across the borders or have been simply adapted from lit- 
erary sources. Typical are: Belle Helene, The T orrhef 
Love, Benaud, the U’omnn Killer, King Lays’ Daughter, 
La Belle Barbicre. There is no body of ballads like that 
of England and Denmark. The same remarks hold gra 
erally for Italy, where many of the French songs pene- 
trated as well as those from other countries. Donna hr.- 
barda is probably the most famous of Italian balfath-h 
is the story of Rosamund and her poisoning of her Iovrt. 
It was first told in the Historia Langobardoruni and Iron 
that became general folk legend. Italy develops mere 


ustorical ballads than France though most of them are 

Though other Romance countries show little in the 
vav of organized narrative song material, Spain de- 
elopcd a great body of such songs. They came to be 
;nown as romancero (a word that traveled to France 
md Germany to denote a body of short dramatic nar- 
ative). These songs, unlike the French and Italian, are 
lasically narrative. They are impersonal and dramatic 
n the same way that the best of the English are. But 
inlike the English they tend to be tied to specific his- 
tory. The Spanish ballad too developed a rigid form, 
highly conventionalized. There is evidence that they are 
nore intense and less diffuse than they were originally; 
evidently the folk here as usual deleted excrescences and 
;e pt alive only the most dramatic elements. Most of the 
Spanish ballads are semihistorical. But it is rather the 
personalities of history that interest the balladists. 
for example. King Pedro the Cruel appears in several 
ballads but always personally and only incidentally as 
sing and ruler. But ballads of raids, forays, and battles 
rre also found. Many of these recount conflicts between 
Moors and Christians. Another category is made up of 
material from the old epics and epiclike chronicles. 
The most famous of these are the some 200 ballads of 
he Cid, and the Infantes de Lara. In the ballads the 
haracterof the Cid changes from that of a distinguished 
statesman and warrior as he appears in the old epics 
:o that of a young dashing, devil-may-care hero, a great 
iolk hero of Spain. Dozens of ballads work over the old 
"arolingian stories, the French chansons de geste, and 
;vcn the romances, but all are made history and most 
:f them Spanish history, for the very essence of the 
Spanish ballad is credibility and historical value. Even 
general fictional stories are forced into the pattern of 
history, like Count Alarcos, Count Dirlos, Gaiferos. 
/Vmong the best ballads of a general sort are Ramon 
B erenguer arfd the German Empress (cf. English Sir 
4ldinger), Count Sun (cf. English Young Beichan and 
Susie Pye), Doha Arbola (cf. English Child Waters), 
Moriana (cf. Italian Donna Lombarda), Rico Franco (cf. 
Dutch Hallewijn), Don Pedro and Doha Alda (cf. 
Danish Elveskud). Typical of the few ballads that turn 
largely on folk themes are Espinelo which is based on 
the superstition that assigns multiple fathers to twins, 
rnd Bovalias, the central feature of which is a light- 
giving stone. All in all the Spanish ballads in number, 
Torcefulness, and dramatic story are among the most 
important in Europe. See Spanish ballad. 

We have tried to make implicit throughout this article 
that from the point of view of folklore the ballad richly 
repays study, for it exhibits not only folk beliefs that 
are contemporary, but also the fossil remains of the lore 
of the folk reaching back to remote antiquity. Many of 
these fossil remains found in the ballad survive, of 
course, as mere conventions, carried from generation to 
generation, but valuable to the folklorist for all of that. 
Not the least interesting aspect of this is the fact that 
here in the ballad is to be found much material for a 
history of rationalization. 

But the main importance of the ballad is not in fur- 
nishing material for folklorists. It is of great intrinsic 
importance. It is often magnificent poetry with beauty 
and definitiveness. The felicity of its lines, its moving 
stories, its suggestiveness and evocations are all of the 


high order of poetry. It often gives a deep reading of 
life, concerned as it is so frequently with eternal matters, 
such as love and death, and presenting these matters with 
the simplicity and directness of Greek drama. Socially 
it is important. It is the expression of people when they 
were close to one another and to the community, a homo- 
geneous and largely classless group living in close in- 
tegration. It was an expression of their unity and like- 
wise it was a force making for that unity. “Give me the 
making of the songs of a nation and I care not who 
makes its laws” has point when nation means such a 
society. The debt of the literature of record to the ballad 
is immense, but the extent of it can never be fully deter- 
mined, for the ballad long ago became a permanent part 
of our general cultural inheritance. 


Child, F. J., English and Scottish Popular Ballads, 5 
vols. Boston, 1882-1898. 

Gerould, G. H„ The Ballad of Tradition. Oxford, 1932. 
Grundtvig, S., and Olrik, A., Danmarks gamle Folke- 
viser. Copenhagen, 1853-1920. 

Olrik, A., A Book of Danish Ballads. Princeton, 1939. 
Doncieux, G., and Tiersot, J„ Le Romancero populaire 
de la France. Paris, 1860. 

Durin, A., Romancero general. Madrid, 1819-1851. 
Rubnikov, P. N., Pesni. Moscow, 1909. 

Ralston, IF. R. S., The Songs of the Russian People. 
London, 1921. 

Meier, J„ Deutsche Volkslieder mit ihren Melodien. 
Berlin, 1935-1937. 

Chadwick, H. M. and N. K„ The Growth of Literature. 
Cambridge, 1936. 

Entwistle, IV. J., European Balladry. Oxford, 1939. 
Pound, L., Poetic Origins and the Ballad. New York, 

MacEdward Leach 

ball de la teya Literally, torch dance: a serpentine 
processional dance performed on the eve of a religious 
festival, in mountain villages of the province of Lerida, 
Spain. A bonfire is lit on a neighboring mountain. The 
people run and leap carrying large branches on their 
shoulders. These they light and return to the village, 
dancing exultantly through the streets and around the 
church. Finally in the plaza the fiery serpent coils and 
uncoils, contracts and expands, and winds into a spiral 
—a fusion of fire purification and fertility magic. The 
most recent bridegroom is the leader, [gpk] 

ball del ciri Literally, candle dance: a Catalan dance 
for couples of men and women, performed at religious 
festivals. Two couples dance at a time, the first group 
consisting of married couples, the succeeding ones of 
unmarried couples. The first two women carry branches 
of flowers, the others carry lighted candles. In Castell- 
tersol, on the second day of a fiesta, six couples circle 
with small skips, hand in hand. They execute various 
figures, as the hey, or a radiation of the women to the 
center, the men to the periphery. The candles are re- 
placed by flow ers in the left hands of the women and by 
morratxes, glass vessels, in their right. During a pro- 
cessional they sprinkle perfume from the morratxes on 
the spectators— possibly a vestige of ancient rain magic. 
Renewal symbolism is inherent in the group transference 
of the dance from married t o, u n m a rri e d.Abtnce r s . [cpk] 


Ballet of the Boll Weevil An American Negro planta- 
tion song dating from about 1900 when the boll weevil 
moved from Mexico into Texas to the destruction of 
the cotton crops. The field hand's sympathy is with the 
boll weevil against tire white man and stanzas have 
multiplied as fast as the beetle itself. Since World Mar 
II it has been sung as a commentary on the housing 
shortage, in which the singer, like the boll weevil, is 
"a-lookin’ fur a home.” 

ball pla A Catalan round dance for couples. The 
music, in triple lime, is in two parts, corresponding to 
the dance: the entrada or entrance, a simple promenade, 
and the dance proper. A variation is the ballet dc dcu, 
literally, dance of God, in a slow austere tempo, with 
one section separating men and women into two lines 
which fluctuate forward and backward. Another variant, 
the bal ccrda from the province of Ccrdana, is in light, 
quick tempo. After a circular promenade, the couples 
dance singly with small steps and jumps, the man follow- 
ing the woman at a prescribed distance. Finally couples 
hold hands for another promenade or a mill. These and 
other variants of the ball pla arc performed at religious 
festivals and pilgrimages, before 'he church, in city, or 
mountains, [cpk] 

ball play A man’s ball game played with racket and 
stufTed ball: found in all eastern North American Indian 
tribes and now adapted, without the original accom- 
panying ritual, as in the modern Canadian lacrosse and 
Louisiana Creole raqucitc. 

Ball the Jack A dance accompanied by hand-clapping 
and recitative, the head and feet remaining still and the 
rest of the body undulating, with a rotation of the hips 
called "snake hips.” American Negroes originated this 
particular form, which was taken over into minstrel 
shows, but similar dances are done in the Bahamas and 
along the Congo. The recitative may be a rhythmic 
chant similar to children's game rimes, ending with 
"And I ball the jack on the railroad track." The term 
derives from railroad slang, meaning to go ahead, go 
fast, be reckless, risk all, etc. “Ball" is an abbreviation 
of "highball," the signal to go ahead, which in early 
railroad practice was a painted metal globe hoisted to 
the top of a tall pole, and the "jack" was the locomotive. 
Much of American Negro song and verse contains simi- 
lar allusions to railroads and trains, which symbolized 

balm Any of various aromatic plants of the genus 
Melissa. Taken in wine, balm cured snake and rabid- 
dog bites and was recommended by Arabian physicians 
for hypochondria and heart trouble. In an English legend 
of the Wandering Jew, Ahasucrus knocked one evening 
at the door of an ill Staffordshire cottager who asked 
him in and offered him a glass of beer. After finishing 
the beer, the wanderer asked the cottager from what 
illness he was suffering. The doctors had given him tip, 
he said. Ahasucrus told him to gather three balm leaves, 
put them into a cup of small beer and drink it, and to 
refill the cup as it was emptied and put in fresh balm 
leaves every fourth day. This he did and was cured 
within 12 days. 

Balor In Old Irish mythology, a king of the giant 
Fomorians, son of Dot son of Net, and grandfather of 
Lug. He had only one eye, which killed whatever it 

looked upon; but luckily it was nearly alwan 
except on the battlefield. Four men attended h L', , 
the lid with a handle that passed through tlieed ° u 
got such an eye as a child from peeking at his rS, - 
druids brewing charms. The fumes of die “ Kl 
into the eye and poisoned it, so that nothing rJ? 
after could survive its glance. 6 urtTtt 

Balor was among the leaders of the Fomorians 
battle of Mag Turcd. That day when Lug and ' 
met in battle, Balor cried to the four men "Lift u D • 
eyelid,” and just as the lid was raised, Lug ca st 
stone into it that earned the eye out the back of BaV 
head, and killed three times nine of Balor's men beW 

Balor is among those grandfathers of world mvthoV 
whosc death at the hand of a grandson was prophesiM 
who exposed to perish or otherwise disposed of the fei 
infant, only to die at the hand of that grandson, alien, 
somehow miraculously saved to fulfil the propheq- l j, 
Balor story exemplifies the strong Celtic belief in th* 
evil eye. His story is classified also by Krappe and soii 
others with the Old Year or Winter versus New Year 
sun, and spring combats and rituals. 

Bnmapnma Thcslupid, gay trickster hero of Mum* 
mythology (Arnhem Land) who is called "crazy man" 
because he violates many tabus, including those’againit 
clan incest. See Australian aboriginal mythology, [kl] 

bamboclic Haitian term for a dance attended only for 
recreation: sometimes applied (in Mirebalais) to tk e 
vodun dances by those who go merely for social ex- 
change, to watch the performance, or to join only b 
the huge singing dance-circle which never ceases to 
move around the tonncllc (the temporary brash con- 
struction that shelters the actual vodun performance) 
during the ceremony, [ern] 

bamboo In India a symbol of friendship and an 
emblem of the sacred fire, since it is believed that jungle 
fires arc caused by the rubbing together of bamboo 
stems. Its origin is told in the tale of Murala, a Blab- 
man girl who, unknowingly was wed to a man oi tie 
Sudra caste. When she discovered the deception, she de- 
cided to end her life. She prayed to Vishnu and then 
mounted a funeral pyre. From her ashes grew the 

In all of southeastern Asia and the East Indies the 
belief is prevalent that the flowering of the bamboo 
(which rarely occurs) is the prognostication of ap- 
proaching famine. In the Philippine Islands bamboo 
crosses arc placed in the fields to aid the growth of 
crops. Among the Scinang of Malaya and many Mela- 
nesian tribes bamboo is used in magic. The Aka-Bo of 
the Andaman Islands believe the first man, Jutpu, teas 
born inside the joint of a big bamboo, came forth, and 
made his wife from clay of a white ants’ nest. The 
bridge of death of the Kachins of Burma is a slender 
bamboo under which are rows upon rows of boiling 
cauldrons which bubble up and engulf the wicked. 

The bamboo is connected with the moon, especially 
in Japan where one of the holy men cut down a bam- 
boo, transformed it into a dragon, and rode to the lunar 
heaven on its back. 

Bamboo Frincess The title of a Malay legend. Khatib 
Malim Scleman, carrying a jungle knife, adze, child, 
and betel-nut scissors, went in pursuit of a beautiful 


pity upon me, nurturing me from the milk of her own 
breast. When I became older I loved my foster mother 
so much that I smothered her with caresses.” The 
prowler is the fruit bat which ate the banyan fruit and 
dropped the seeds in a tree, usually a palm, where they 
rooted. The roots eventually embrace and kill the palm. 

Tahitian (Polynesian) mythology explains the shad- 
ows on the moon as the branches of a huge banyan tree 
from which Hina-i-aa-i-te-mararaa (Hina-who-stepped- 
into-the-moon) took bark to make cloth for the gods. 
Once while clambering around in the tree she broke off 
a brandi accidentally with her foot. It hew through 
space to the earth, took root, and became the first ban- 
yan tree in the world. Hina's companion in the moon 
was a wild green parrot ( u'upa ) who lived in the tree 
and ate its figs. This little bird, at Hina's instigation, 
scattered a bunch of these little red figs across the earth 
and from them grew all the Polynesian banyans. Here 
is a folktale strangely contrary to the natural fact that 
the banyan propagates by its brandies. The Polynesian 
peoples make a good doth from the bark of the banyan, 
and thus Hina is still tutelary deity of the sacred cloth- 

The Hindus call the tree Vaibadha, the breaker, and 
invoke it when they desire vengeance on their enemies. 
In Indian mythology, Vishnu was bom under the shade 
of the banyan. The tree is confused with the Bo-tree 
and therefore shares its place in heaven. Like the latter 
it is the Tree of Knowledge. It is also the tree of Indian 
ascetics and seers. In Indian folklore the tree is a repre- 
sentation of Siva and anyone who cuts one down will be 
punished by the annihilation of his family. 

baptism Ceremonial purification by immersing, bath- 
ing, or sprinkling with water, usually symbolic of ac- 
ceptance into the community, typically the religious 
community, and often accompanied, as in the instance 
of the newborn child, by name-giving: a practice origi- 
nating in the pre-Christian era and found today among 
many cultures all over the world. While baptism as a 
sacrament is most common in Western culture, similar 
ceremonies without this religious background arc wide- 
spread. Baptism, essentially, seems to be based on the 
concept of the removal of the ceremonial unclcanncss of 
the mother and child, and of safeguarding them against 
the demons and evil spirits to which the ordeal of birth 
has made them especially susceptible. Water, as a pure, 
“living” material, is most used, but baptism by saliva, 
blood (human or sacrificial animal), milk, clay, dirt, and 
even rum is known. Adult baptism is usually an initia- 
tory rite, as for candidates to the Eleusinian mysteries 
or for proselytes to Judaism, though sometimes the cere- 
mony is a reaffirmation of faith. 

Generally, in Europe, underlying the religious signifi- 
cance of the Christian rite of baptism arc more ancient, 
indigenous beliefs. The idea is that the unbaptized, 
adult or child, is a pagan, hence subject to pagan influ- 
ences. In Ireland of the lGth century, for example, the 
right arm of the male child was left pagan (unbaptized' 
so that it might strike harder blows. The general belief 
that the new-born child is trdangered by fairies or 
demons gives rise to numerous customs for safeguarding 
the child and the mother until baptism and churching. 
In the Middle Ages it was thought that witches took a 
toll of unbaptized children on Walpurgis night. The 
Greeks and the Slavs believe that the Lamia has a cer- 

tain power over the unbaptized. An okcu^TZT"'- 
tom, adapted from Christian baptism but ot ?JC ^ 
many Copts and Moslems in the Middle \- ' 
baptismal river festival in the Nile on Ft? v " 2 ‘ 
which cured all illnesses. Group baptism inrivm * E ' : 
United States has been well publicized. N 0 , , 
cold the water or how raw the weather. United < 
Primitive Baptists believe baptizing never lead ^ 
cold. Among the Lapps, a second or third or suw"' * 
baptism, with renaming, may be gone through i„ 
of illness to foil the malignant spirit causiV Z*, 
ment. ° ' 1 '»- 

Baptism accompanied by naming ceremonies is 
in Africa, Malaya, Polynesia, India, and Inn ar - 
the North American Indians, Teutons, Greeks u*' 
and Celts. In Europe, the circumstances attendant^ 
the naming of the child are accompanied by a numV 
of customary observances and beliefs. The behavioral 
physical and moral perfection of the godparents it. 
actions and speedi of the officiating clergyman, the « 
cupation of the parents during the ceremony, all 
influence on the future development of the child. Th* 
actions of the child himself during the baptism are ri 
portant. Widespread in England is the belief that , 
child who cries is expelling the devil. On the other 
hand, in Germany a crying child will not live to Arn- 

Among the ancient Teutons, the vatni atm (sptfc. 
kling with water) of the infant by the father admrel- 
edged it. After that the child was a member of tie 
community and could not be exposed by the parent. 
The idea behind this is recognition of the infant as a 
new person in the social group. The formalized rditicas 
overtones and ceremonies, while significant, are perhaps 
subordinate in origin. It is the first bathing of the rev- 
child that is d community importance. In Fiji, th: 
group holds a feast without the child being named at 
that time, although the name itself is significant in later 
community life. 

baraka The word used by Mohammedans of Morocco 
for tire supernatural energy, or holiness, attached to 
certain persons or objects. Baraka is a beneficent poner, 
but it also has a distinct clement of the perilous in it 
It may be transferred, as from a holy person to a plat: 
or thing. Baraka is possessed by brides, plants, trees, 
mountains, the horse and saddle, camels, greyhounds, 
prayers, rainbows, and other natural phenomena, cer- 
tain numbers (the odd having more baraka than the 
even), etc. Compare mana; tabu. 

Barashnum A Zoroastrian ceremony of purification 
"the purification of the nine nights": conducted espe- 
cially to restore purity to those contaminated by contact 
with the dead. Originally it was performed only for a 
woman who had given birth to a stillborn child or for a 
man who had had contact with a corpse; but it is no* 
observed generally by the Parsis of India as a means <■ 
securing purity. Every member of the Parsi community 
must go through the ceremony, which is conducted by 
the local priest, before the age of 15, and perhaps again 
later, in order to prepare his soul for its entrance into 
heaven. If he does not, he cannot cross the Chinvat 
bridge after death. Trees are felled to prepare a special 
place suitable for the ceremony. Holes are dug, [uno« 
marked; the one seeking purification walks to eadi holt. 



ws a prater, and is sprinkled with water and gomez 
(cov.'s urine). The ceremony is performed also at the 
time of a priest's initiation into the priesthood, for the 
purification of the initiate and for the sake of some per- 
son (living or dead) in whose honor he is entering the 
priesthood. The whole elaborate ritual is described in 
detail in Yendiddd Lx. See baptism; barsom. 

Barbara Allen The beautiful and cruel maiden in the 
Inllad Jlonny Barbara Allen (Child #81) who shows no 
pit) or kindness to the young man dying for her love. 
When she hears the dead-bell ring, she sickens and dies 
of remorse. Child has only three versions of the origi- 
nal!' English and Scotch ballads on the subject, but in 
America it has become the most widespread of all the 
transplanted ballads, showing greater geographical 
range, more tunes, and more text variants than any 
other ballad. It was first printed in Great Britain in 
1710, in the United States in 1830. 

Barbarossa Frederick I (1 123?— 1190), Holy Roman em- 
peror, called Barbarossa (Redbeard) by the Italians: a 
Gennan national hero. Frederick is the best known of 
the kings and heroes thought to be asleep in a mountain 
and waiting to return in time of their country's need. 
The Kyllhauscr Mountain in Thuringia is Barbarossa’s 
resting place. He sits there at a marble table in a cave 
with his beard growing either through the table or 
around it. In a late version, when the beard has en- 
circled the table three times he will awaken. Compare 
beard; kink in the mountain. 

barber The hair-cutter and trimmer and remover of 
beards, formerly also the phlcbotoinist and tooth-puller, 
at all periods since Roman times (5th century B.C.): 
renowned as town gossip and retailer of news. The bar- 
ber's reputation for being talkative is a popular slcreo- 
l)pe in many parts of the world. Formerly the barber 
performed the offices of a surgeon, and his art was called 
a profession, but under Louis XIV in France and George 
II in England the hairdressers and surgeons were finally 
separated, although Tor some time bleeding and tooth 
extraction were still performed in the barber's shop. In 
northern England barbers for a time sold books. The 
row of shaving mugs, each with its owner's name, was 
a familiar sight in early 20th century barber shops in 
the United States. In India the barber is still a surgeon 
and a masseur, also a matchmaker and expert on mar- 
riages. The barber’s wife is often a midwife. The East- 
ern barber appears in the Kiitlia Sarit Siigara in the 
"Story of Kadalignrbha,” and in "The Hunchback's 
'I ale" of the Thousand Nights and a Night. The barber 
in the North European tale of the three skilful brothers 
manages to shave a running hare. Barbers like Monsieur 
lU-.mcaiic and Figaro are familiar figures in modern 

batlier's pole The striped pole seen in front of barber 
shops. The red and white stripes on the barber’s pole 
arc a survival of the lime when the barber was also a 
surgeon. The white stripe symbolizes the bandage used 
in the operation of bleeding; the pole itself, the wand 
grasped by the patient as the vein was opened. Formerly 
a bavin topped the pole to indicate the basin in which 
the blood was caught. See barber. 

harshest or bargucst The specter-hound of Cornwall, 
known also in northern England. Literally, perhaps it 

means bear-ghost (bar geest) but there is also some argu- 
ment for its being derived from German brrggcist, 
gnome. It appears to people in the form of a bear or a 
huge dog, and the sight of it usually precedes a death 
in the family. Traditionally it cannot crews water. In 
Lancashire it is sometimes called the Shriher, because of 
the shrieks it lets out when invisible, and sometimes 
called Trash because it walks with a splashing sound. 

bariaua In Tubetube and M’agawaga (Melanesian) 
folklore, shy, harmless spirits inhabiting the trunks of 
old trees. They often borrow the sea-going craft of 
mortals, since they arc unable to make them themselves. 
The bariaua arc afraid of being seen by men and run 
away when approached. 

barley A hardy bearded cereal grass or its grain, genus 
Hordewn, of temperate regions, with long leaves, stout 
awns, and triple spikclcts at the joints which distinguish 
it from wheat. Barley has been cultivated since prehis- 
toric times as a staple food and evidence exists that it 
was one of the first if not the first cereal cultivated by 
man. Grains of barley have been found in Egyptian re- 
mains dating from the pre-dvnastic period and in the 
pile dwellings of Switzerland. It is frequently mentioned 
in the Old Testament ( Judges vii, 13; Ruth ii, 17; II 
Kings iv, 12; John vi, 9, 13). The meal otTcring of jeal- 
ousy ( Num . v, 15) seems to have been the only use made 
of barley in the Hebrew ritual. Its use in bread is in- 
dicative, however, of poverty. 

Indra is called "He who ripens Barley” and the In- 
dians use this cereal when celebrating the birth of a 
child, at weddings, funerals, and during the rites of the 
sraddha. Pliny says a boil may be removed by rub- 
bing nine grains of barley around it and then throwing 
them into the fire. To the herbalists barley was a plant 
of Saturn, more cooling than wheat, and efficacious in 
the treatment of fevers, agues, and heats in the stomach. 
A meal of barley boiled with flcaworts and made into a 
poultice with honey and oil of lilies, applied warm, 
will cure swellings under the cars, throat, and neck. 

Barley is used in making malt for beer; a Babylonian 
recipe for beer dates from 2800 B.C. In rune II of the 
Kalcvala, VainSmoinen fells the forest to let the barley 

Barmecide’s feast In "The Barber's Tale of his Sixth 
Brother” in the Thousand Nights and a Night, an imag- 
inary feast served to a beggar by a prince of the house 
of Barntak. The beggar, falling in with the jest, despite 
his hunger, pretends to cat the imaginary food front the 
imaginary dishes. Finally, lie pretends to become very 
drunk from imaginary wine and gives the prince two 
very real buffets. The phrase has been applied to any- 
thing imaginary, illusory, or disappointing. 

bar mizvah, bar miuvah, or bar mizwah The Hebrew 
term for a boy entering his fourteenth year. Until the 
thirteenth birthday, responsibility in religious matters 
rests in the father, but after that the bar mizvah as- 
sumes the attributes of maturity and takes his own 
place in the religious community. The ceremony sol- 
emnizing the event occurs on the Sabbath following the 
thirteenth birthday, at which time the youth is called 
to read a portion of the Law. Customarily the boy then 
recites a learned oration, and receives presents from the 
guests. The rite has been a fixed custom only since the 
14th centurv. but various indications, such as Gen. 


xxxiv, 25, where Levi is called "man" at thirteen, sug- 
gest an origin in antiquity. 

barnacle goose An Old World goose (11 rant a leucopsis) 
nesting in the Arctic. During the Middle Ages its then 
unknown breeding habits gave long life to the legend 
that the bird was in some way hatched rrom driftwood 
or that it originated in shells growing on a seaside tree 
in some obscure place. The story was repeated as late as 
1GG8 despite its being disproved in the 15th century by 
/Eneas Sylvius. Some disagreement existed among medi- 
eval rabbis about the bird, since several forbade eating 
it on the grounds that it was a shellfish, while others 
discussed the question of slaughtering it as fowl or eat- 
ing it unslaughtcrcd as fish. A similar Christian debate 
was concerned with the edibility of the fowl during 

barn dance A social country dance, often held in a 
barn, at which square dances, quadrilles, etc., arc 
danced, to the directions of a "caller" and the music of 
a small band or often of a fiddler. The dance music, 
forms, and calls are to a great degree traditional, even 
to the humor of the calls, and occur in all parts of the 
United Stales with tegional variants. 

Barnyard A cumulative song of the mountains of the 
southern U. S. which enumerates the barnyard animals 
with imitations of their ciics in a manner similar to 
that of Old MacDonald Had a Farm. "I had a cat and 
the cat pleased me," it says. "Fed my cat under yonder 
tree. Cat went fiddlc-i-fcc.” The hen went "shimmy- 
shack" and the duck, the goose, etc., made their par- 
ticular noises in a long scries, each verse adding another. 

barrel bouse A cheap saloon of the period about 1900 
during which jazz developed, in which the customers 
could fill their own glasses front a cask, the drip from 
the spigot falling into a "gut bucket" on the floor. The 
term is applied to the kind of music played in such 
places, and especially to the rough, "dirty" timbre of 
instrumental tone characteristic of this early jazz. 

barrenness In folklore and folktale, barrenness is re- 
moved or prevented by the use of blood or charms, by- 
eating or drinking certain substances, by bathing, or by 
sacrifice, often sacrifice of a child. Certain persons arc 
considered unlucky because of their barrenness, and arc 
an evil omen if encountered. Old women and priests in 
particular are so regarded in northern Europe. Sec Bel- 
tane; blood; promised child; twins. 

Barry, Phillips (1880-1937) Scholar of comparative 
literature, philology, early Greek music, and the history 
and theology of New England; scholar and authority on 
ballads and folk music of New England. He became in- 
terested in ballad while studying under Leo Werner at 
Harvard and began his collection of New England folk 
music in 1903. He had one of the earliest collections of 
recordings in the country. Together with Louise Pound, 
he advanced the theory that the ballad is originated by 
an individual, and is recreated and changed by each 
subsequent singer, rather than developed by a group 
and kept reasonably intact. 1 

In 1930 he founded and edited the Bulletin of the 
Folk Song Society o/ New England. Besides articles in 
that publication, lie contributed to The Southern Folk- 
lore Quarterly , Journal of American Folklore and the 


Musical Quarterly. Many of these articles 
in Folk Music in America (New York ,. „ c rc P ril ):M 
I’uhl. 1939), put out in his name by thcD,i„ 

Project of the WPA. lie also edited The \t - B1 « 

Songster (Cambridge, Mass., 1939) and m ,lc54 
with others, British Ballads from Maine ■ T/ , 
meat of Popular Songs (New Haven, 1919 'y , -rf'^ 
Green Mountain Songster (New Haven, 1939 ) ‘ Vti 

barsom or baresman Originally, a bundle of ,v 
stems of a plant which cannot now be idemi^" 1 ' 
in the clncr Zoioastrian ceremonies- 
P. arsis of India, a bundle of wire rods varvin’„ ™"'’ tlt 
from 5 to 33, bound together with leaves and””", 1 ” 
sacrificial ceremonies. The Zoroastrians of tJ- 
bundlcs of pomegranate, tamarind, or datT, 
bound with the bark or the mulberry tree The) • 
is powerful against demons, wizards, and witcht^ 
single offering of barsom is so powerful that the [W 
weakened when it is made. The bundle, houcv £r J„° 
be removed from a house in which a person or ’a a* 
has died and it is a sin to prepare barsom improperly! 
point it toward the north (the region of demons). 

Itartdk, Bela (1881-1915) Hungarian composer & 
folk-music scholar. Educated at the Royal Aademv a 
Music in Budapest, where he studied with Janos Kocs',, 
and Istvtin Thom.'m and where he became professor cf 
piano in 1907, llartuk started his researches into it* 
ancient folk music of Hungary and neighboring cow- 
tries in 1905. He was particularly concerned with unm. 

ering the indigenous music from the layer of Ci R 
music regarded as typically Hungarian until that tune, 
and in the course of collecting joined forces with Zoliio 
Kod.-lly. Their studies resulted in the publication cl 
Hungarian Folk Songs for Voice and Piano, in 1906, fd- 
lowed by Uartdk’s Twenty Songs and Sztkely M:i 
In all he collected, transcribed, and scientifically class- 
fied more than 0,000 songs of Magyar, Rumania 
Slovak, and Transylvanian singers, and extended his 
field in 1913 to African-Arab music. His monmnema! 
work, Hungarian Folk Music, appeared in 1921. His in- 
vestigations also included regional music of Bihar, 1911, 
Ifunyad, 191-1, Maramurcs, 1923; colindc, 1937; and foil 
instruments and instrumental music. With Kodily tt 
founded the New Hungarian Music Society in 1911.11c 
own compositions, numbering among others an opm, 
Prince Bluebeard’s Castle, two ballets, six string quit 
tets, many songs and piano pieces, conccrti for piano 
violin, and orchestra, make extensive and original us 
of both melodic and rhythmic material from the folk, 
music studies which were his signal contribution It 
comparative musicology. 

basers Members of the chorus in American Negn 
spiritual singing who sing the response after a namtiu 
line from the leader and “spell" him for a breath bdffl 
his next line. They take up so quickly that the single, 
has a continuity that gives the effect of never stopple 
for breath. 

basil Any of certain aromatic plants (genus Orinun 
of the mint family: so called because it was believed ti 
be an antidote for the basilisk's poison, although it 
earlier Greek name, basilikon, probably derives from >- 
use in some royal ceremony. Basil, paradoxically, in M 
belief is both sacred and dedicated to the Evil One, i 



dear Co lovers (Italy) and an emblem of hatred (Greece), 
the propagator of scorpions and the antidote to their 
stings. Galen and Dioscoridcs believed it poisonous; 
Pliny and the Arabian physicians recommended it; Cul- 
peper thought it poisonous because it would not grow 
with the poison antidote, rue; Gerard recommended 
smelling it for the heart and the head. It has been and 
still is tt'cd as a cooking herb. 

In India holy basil or tulasi (O. sanctum) is sacred to 
Vishnu and Lakshml. It is grown in pots near every 
Hindu dwelling and temple, is a protection for every 
part of the both, ensures children to those who desire 
them, and opens the gates of heaven to the pious. 

In Greece and Rome the planting of basil is accom- 
panied by cursing, without which the plant will not 
flourish- In Persia and Egypt the plant is found in ceme- 
teries. In Moldavia its enchanted flowers will stop a 
wandering youth and make him love the girl who hands 
him a sprig. In Africa it is eaten so that one will not 
feel the sting of scorpions, but in some places smelling 
the plant breeds scorpions in the brain. Elsewhere the 
smell of the plant is beneficial to the heart and head 
and produces cheerfulness. See pot of basil; Tulasi. 

basilisk or cockatrice A fabulous reptile of classical 
and medieval European legend and folktale whose 
breath and look were fatal. Physical descriptions of the 
creature dilfer, but generally the basilisk was thought 
to he hatched from a cock's egg on which a toad or 
serpent had sat and which preferably had matured in a 
dunghill or amidst poisonous materials; the glance of 
the basilisk was fatal whether it wished to kill or not; 
its breath was poisonous to all plants and animals; con- 
tact with its body split rocks, and killed men (even a 
horseman using a spear), animals, and planus; and its 
hissing drove away all other serpents. The basilisk 
usually had a spotted crest, indicating its kingship 
among the serpents, and a horrid face, either that of a 
cock or of a human being. It walked upright and, in 
some instances, was winged. In heraldry, the cockatrice 
is depicted as having the head of a cock, wings and feet 
of a fowl, and barbed serpent's tail. Such was the power 
of the glance that the basilisk could kill itself by look- 
ing in a mirror: human beings of course could not look 
at the basilisk directly but had to use a mirror. If a man 
saw the basilisk before it saw him, the basilisk would 
die. There was also a small weasel-like animal which 
could kill the basilisk, and from this and the fact that 
the more or less general words for snake in the Hebrew 
version of the Bible (e.g. Isa. ,\i, 8) have been translated 
as "basilisk" and "cockatrice,” it is believed that the 
original of the reptile was either the horned adder of 
the Sinai peninsula or the hooded cobra of India, the 
latter fitting well with the common description. Com- 

llasin Street A street in the French Quarter of New 
Orleans, one of twelve blocks comprising Storyville, the 
real light district marked off by an alderman named 
Story. Here jazz had its original hearing. One of the 
most popular of blues pieces was named for the street. 
Basin Street Blues. 

basket dance A ceremonial dance centering the action 
around a basket carried in the left hand by the dancer. 
In all cases the bearer is a woman who may strew seeds 
from the basket, and in all eases it is a vegetation cere- 

mony. In the medieval Numberg and modem Thracian 
carnival dances an old woman of the corn (meaning rye) 
carries a baby doll in a basket. The distant (in space 
and time) Tarascan seinbradara sows meal or flower 
petals. In the basket dance of Cochiti. nine women 
kneel before nine men and symbolically grind com on 
their inverted baskets. In these various instances the 
symbolism doubtless evolved independently, [opk] 

Basque folklore The Basques, "the oldest people in 
Europe," have preserved little of their ancient culture. 
The Romans, the French, and the Spanish have pro- 
foundly influenced them away from their old traditions, 
and Christianity since the 7th century directly and in- 
directly has forced them into the general pattern de- 
manded by the church. Their language, too, so difficult 
that even the devil has never been able to learn it, has 
been a factor in keeping Basque culture from spreading 
and so surviving as, for example, elements of Breton 
culture were preserved. The language barrier may ac- 
count for the fact that folklorists have long neglected 
these people. Even now records arc few and often unsci- 
entifically compiled. 

The Basques seem not to have had an elaborate 
mythology. They did believe in a universal god. the 
Yaun-Goicoa, lord of the universe. He created the three 
principles of life: Egia, the light or the spirit; Ekhia, 
the sun, the light of the world; Begia, the eye, the light 
of the body. There is no evidence of an extensive cos- 
mogony such as that of the Indo-Europeans. In some 
conflict with the belief in the god creator is the evidence 
of belief in the mother goddess, the great mother ol 
Pan-Mediterranean culture. The Basques called her 
Erditse, goddess of maternity. All we know of her in 
Basque culture comes from an inscription on an altar 
dedicated to her. 

A few explanatory myths survive. The Basques ac- 
count for themselves more easily than most scholars 
account for them. In the beginning a great file-serpent 
lived under the world. Restless in its sleep, it threw up 
the Pyrenees mountains as it turned its heavy coils. 
From its seven gaping jaws flowed forth fire which de- 
stroyed all the world, purifying everything; then out 
of the fire the Basques were born. The Basque explana- 
tion of the constellation of the Dipper is somewhat 
different from the usual story. The first two stars in the 
cup of the dipper arc two oxen stolen by two thieves 
from a laborer. The next two stars are the two thieves 
following the oxen. The first star in the handle is the 
son of the owner, sent to apprehend the thieves; the 
double star is the daughter and her little dog, sent to 
find the brother. Then following all is the laborer. God 
condemned them all to this endless journey because of 
the curses of the laborer at losing his oxen. Most of the 
myths have been Christianized with the introduction of 
the Christian god, of Jesus, and of the saints as char- 
actcrs. The moon is a man with a load of fagots, con- 
demned by God to light the world because he cut the 
fagots on Sunday. 

Though the Basques no longer have a pagan mythol- 
ogy, they do retain belief in a group of supernatural 
creatures and about them tell many stories. Tartaro is 
a Cyclops-like creature. He is usually described as a 
giant having one eye in the middle of his forehead. At 
other times he appears as a great hunter or shepherd 


living in the mountains: in one or two stories he is 
simply a grotesque animal. In most stories he is out- 
witted bv°his human opponents and so beaten. The 
Herren-Sun'e is a great seven headed snake. In some 
stories he must be appeased by offerings of human be- 
ings; in others he appears in the role of the conven- 
tional dragon. One long story in which he figures is the 
Basque version of the widespread folktale of the ran- 
somed woman as it appears in the usual version of the 
Two Brothers. The Basa-Jaun and his wife, Basa-Andre, 
are wild creatures of mountain and wood. Their char- 
acters shift considerably from story to story. Often Basa- 
Jaun is a sort of faun or wood sprite (French Homme de 
Bone): he is mischievous, not malignant. His wife is 
often depicted as a sorceress, sitting at the entrance of 
a mountain cave, combing her long hair, luring men to 
their doom. In other stories Basa-Jaun is an ogre, and 
his wife is a witch. And strangely enough she often 
helps her husband’s captives to escape. The Laminak 
are fairies, probably related to the Celtic little people, 
for like them the Laminak live underground in beauti- 
ful castles. The Lamia in Basque story is a water sprite 
or mermaid, with none of the malignancy of the con- 
ventional lamia of classical mythology. In addition to 
these rather specific characters, one finds the usual as- 
sortment of witches (astiya), sorcerers, magicians, and 
the like. Stories of the witches' Sabbat (Basque aque- 
larre, goat-pasture) abound. Usually they tell of a 
human being who is an accidental witness to the Sabbat 
proceedings and who overhears some bit of information 
by which he can break the spell that the witches or their 
god, the Devil (in the form of a goat), has placed on their 
victim. In the religious folktales Christ, St. Peter, Mary 
appear as beneficent supernatural beings little different 
from the witches and fairies except that they always 
■work for the good of men. A number of these religious 
tales are highly moralistic, their terseness and pithiness 
reminding one of the Jatakas. Like the Jatakas too are 
the animal stories. The usual characters are the fox, the 
wolf, and the ass. Each has his traditional role. Each 
story is well told by way of sprightly dialog. 

One finds among the Basques a goodly store of folk 
songs. Almost all of the songs are lyrics rather than 
narratives; in fact, only a very few ballads have been re- 
corded. The lyrics fall into five groups: hymns, carols, 
love songs, satiric and humorous songs, religious legends. 
The earliest of the songs, the hymns, are modal, and as 
one would expect, shotv close affiliation with church 
liturgy. The most original of all Basque music is that 
of the following period when the Basque folk singers be- 
gan experimenting in the major and minor scales. Most 
of these songs are love songs of great beauty and charm. 
The third period of Basque musical development shows 
the influence of French and Spanish songs. To this pe- 
riod belong the long and tiresome religious legends. The 
Basques have long been fond of the satirical songs. These 
carry a weight of social and political protest, and were 
often as effective as the similar songs in Provencal. 

Instrumental folk music was not developed to a degree 
comparable to that of the vocal. It is composed almost 
entirely as accompaniment for dance and procession. 
The instruments gcncraPy found are the three-holed 
flute, the tambourine, and the gaita. Until recent times 
the violin and accordion, so common in other parts of 
southern Europe, were not popular with the Basques. 

The traditional Basque dances are 
square figure dances. Among the most interest ^ 
the sword and club dances. In these dances B i l " t 
fences in intricate dance with his opponent ana™ ^ 
dance becomes faster and faster, the whole disc ] as . fc ® 
a general melee. Both dances are very old- thev'”^ 3 
rialize, as some think, the old conflict with the y 0 ”" 
The masquerades are part dance and part ph v 
are very- elaborate with the participants in fantaiiic ’ 
tumes, each representing characters from histon- A, 
legend. Much of the music which accompanies the • 
old and traditional. All walks of life from shepherd^ 
lords and ladies— not to mention animals like bean „ 
liorses-are represented. The whole is an elaborate )|w 
Gras. ' ,tu 

There is probably influence back and forth between 
the masquerades and the folk plays for the plan *7 
widely popular. In spite of the fact that the 
versions extend only from the beginning of the ISth ecu 
tury the Basque plays are as old as the Middle Acts ;j 
form and tradition, with many elements common to ft. 
miracle and mystery plays. Some scholars sec a kinship 
or even influence of Greek drama. The subject-matter oi 
these plays is varied though about half of them am 
drawn from the romances, chiefly from the cycle oi 
Charlemagne; many are on Biblical subjects, some few- 
on classical subjects (CEdipus, Bacchus); some retell the 
lives of the saints. The authors of a number of them arc 
known; they are usually teachers, or local scribblers who 
adapt a cliapbook story (most of the romances are still 
so printed even today) or a Biblical story to the comen. 
tional play form for the use of local groups. Once the 
play is composed successive groups of players arc likelr 
to modify and change it in the same tray the folkmodifr 
and change a ballad. Though manuscript copies sur- 
vive, the plays are most often carried locally from gen- 
eration to generation in the memories of the players, 
father teaching his own part to son. 

As we have said, the plays show similarity both to the 
medieval miracle and mystery plays and to the Greek 
dramas. Like the earlier plays they are highly stylized 
in the use of stock characters, in the acting, and in the 
methods of staging. Usually the play is furnished with a 
chorus, but the chorus functions differently from that 
in the Greek plays. Here it is a chorus of Satans whose 
function is to aid the villain and the forces of evil and 
to combat the good. This chorus of Satans is dressed in 
elaborate and colorful costumes and each member car- 
ries a ribbon-decorated wand with which the action is 
controlled. One toudi of the wand restores the “dead’’ or 
strikes down the “living.” The chorus is assigned elabo- 
rate songs and dances, and generally it plays a colorful 
and picturesque part. The “bad” characters are repre- 
sented as Turks, infidels, demons, and less frequently, 
Englishmen. They are always garbed in red. The "good- 
characters are the French and the Christians. They arc 
always in blue. The action of the play always depicts the 
struggle between the bad (aided and abetted by the 
Satans) and the good, always with the ultimate triumph 
of the good. The action is very lively, with dancing, sing- 
ing, gesturing, posturing, and by-play. The lines are de- 
livered in a semichant, completely conventional. The 
interlocutors advance and retreat on the stage in regular 
dance formation as they' deliver their lines. The good 
characters move in a dignified and majestic manner al- 



, avs from the right side o£ the stage; tire bail indulge in 
giotesque steps and gestures always appearing from tire 

The plays arc performed on an elevated stage usually 
situated in the public square. At the four corners of the 
stage arc stationed soldiers in colorful uniforms armed 
with guns which they fire at appropriate moments, l’lacc 
is provided oit the stage for certain local dignitaries, 
such as the mayor and priest. The orchestra is located on 
the stage. It i< composed of a tambourine, flute, trum- 
pet, anil guitar. The highly conventionalized music 
marks the changes in action and introduces the charac- 
ters; a rapid march, for example, indicates the appear- 
ance of the Salans, a slow, grave march the appearance 
of the good characters. 

Although the costumes arc elaborate with much head- 
dress arrd decoration, the stage props are few. The actors 
are drawn from the local folk, and many of the roles are 
hereditary. Women play some parts, but never arc 
women and men on the stage at the same time. Usually, 
as in the medieval theater, the female parts are taken by 
boys. One other custom also common to the early theater 
is the procession of actors in costume through the village 
on the morning before the play is acted. These plays of 
the llasque have lottg been very popular; trow they, like 
much of the traditional culture of the folk, arc fast 
dying out. 

The basque have a great store of proverbs, conven- 
tional sayings, riddles. Many of these arc common to 
most of tire people of Europe, but a number are unique 
among the basque. Familiar enough arc such sayings as; 
There is no tree without shade; On hard bread the teeth 
will break: The puppy and the bitch arc both dogs; 
Without fire there is tro srttokc. Itt the proverbs original 
with the basque one is strtrck by the cynical tone (or is 
it just keen observation?). A golden key will unlock any 
door; Marriage of love, life of sadness; Two sisters make 
a full house. Mention of foxes, dogs, wolves, chickens, 
and mules occurs constantly in these proverbs. When 
you have a wolf for a companion keep a dog by your 
side; A cheap ntulc is expensive; The fox having a long 
tail thinks all animals are like him. As one might expect 
all aspects of the weather are caught up in proverbial 
sayings. Red morning, south wind and rain; Wet May, 
happy year; The year of much snow, happy year. 

The riddles, like many riddles of the folk, are usually 
childish or far-fetched. What looks towaul the house 
when going to the wood and toward the wood when go- 
ing towaul the house? The horns of the goal. A fellow 
with a neck but no head, arms but no hands? A shirt. 
These basque riddles lack the subtlety anil poetry of 
Old English riddles. 

The basques have many folk customs, such as telling 
the bees when death occurs, the bridal pioccssion 
through the village at which all the presents arc carried 
and along with them certain tools like the hoc and the 
spinning reel to symbolize marriage, but these customs 
arc also found, with modifications, generally in Europe. 
Early accounts of the basques assert that they practiced 
the couvadc. This seems to have been a characteristic of 
the pre-Indo-European I’an-Mcditcrrnncau culture in 
general and consequently one would expect it among 
basques. At present the custom seems to have died out 
completely. Modern research has failed to find any prac- 
tice of it. Common still today though is the institution of 

niznn, the neighbor. A person who lives nearest another 
on the side of the tising sun is closely integrated with his 
family by very special tics and duties, lie is godfather; 
be attends at births, marriages, and deaths, petfntming 
all necessary duties, it is he, for example, who climbs the 
roof when a member of the family is dying and removes 
the tiles so that the soul can escape more easily, lie holds 
the candle over the body of the dead, letting the seven 
drops of hot wax fall on the naked flesh. 

MaoEowako l.l ACIt 

bast, bastet, bubastis, l’asht, or Ubasti An Egyptian 
goddess rcpiesented in two distinct forms: (1) as a lion- 
headed woman with the solar disk and urams; (2) as a 
cat-headed goddess bearing a sistrum, in which form she 
was called Paslil. She was the personification of life and 
fruitfulness, and was essentially mild, although she has 
been identified as a war goddess. She is sometimes con- 
founded with Sekluuct and often identified with Mut. 
The Cheeks identified her with Artemis, but this seems 
to have been simply formal and unconnected with actual 
worship. I’eoplc from all parts of Egypt attended her 
unruly festival. The chief center of lire deity was at 
bubastis, and the rise or the XXII Dynasty (the bn- 
bastites) helped make her influence more widespread, 
There were two festivals, the greater and the lesser, 
Memphis rather than bubastis perhaps being the scene of 
the latter. 

bastion, Adolf (1826-1905) German ethnologist, lie 
was born in bretnen, and educated as a physician at 
bcrlin. Heidelberg, Prague, Jena, and WOrzburg. As 
ship’s doctor, in 1851-66 he traveled to all continents, 
amassing a great volume of inhumation, lie was profes- 
sor of ethnology at Berlin and head of the ethnological 
museum there fiom 1886. With Virchow and R. von 
Hartmann he edited the Zcitsrh rift fib P.lhnologic 
(I860), lie published almost 60 wotks on various anthio- 
pological subjects, more than 80 volumes, among them: 
Die 1'iilker tier iisllirhcn Asicn (1866-71); litlinograf)li- 
isclic Forschungcn (1871-73); Der llutltlhismus in seiner 
Psychologic (1B82); Atnerilttis Norilwcslhilslc (1883); In- 
donesia! (1881-91); Dcr Fctisch on tier Kilstc Guineas 
(1881); Die mikronesischen Kolonicn (1899-1900), has- 
tian was proponent of the theory that mankind’s com- 
mon psychological basis explained the existence of com- 
mon folklore materials like tales, games, beliefs, etc. 

bat A humorous character in some Southwestern and 
basin North American Indian mythologies, bat, in the 
pcison cither of an old man or an old woman, success- 
fully brings down a deity or human being(s) marooned 
at the top of a high clifi. Humor enters into the tale be- 
cause of bat’s size, teasing by bat of the stranded per- 
son, or the song sung while transporting the person to 
earth in a carrying net. See iiats. [r.wv] 

batara Guru or betnra Guru The name for Siva used 
in the Malay peninsula, Dali. Java, and Sumatra: to the 
Malayan the all-powerful spit it who held the place of 
Alliih before the advent of Mohammedanism, hat, 'ire 
Guru has been identified with Si Raya, the spirit of the 
sea from low-water mark to mid-ocean, and sometimes 
with Mantbang Tali Hants, the Malay spirit of the mid- 
currents. In Sumatra belief batara Guru created the 
earth by sending a handful of earth down to his daugh- 
ter who had leaped from the upper world into the limit- 


less sea. When this svas set upon the sea it press- larger. 
•\s it increased in sire, it shut ofT the light from the Saga 
Padoha. a serpent which liied in the sea. 'I he Naga was 
rexed and gave the land a shove. It floated off. When 
llatara Guru saw what hat! happened, he sent down 
more earth and a hero who pinned the serpent in an iron 
block. His squirming, however, made the mountains and 
vallevs and even now causes earthquakes. W lien the 
earth was finished llatara Guru created the animals ami 
plants. Then his daughter. Ilom deaf panidjar, and the 
hero hegot the first people. 

bats Nocturnal firing mammals (order Cltirnjilrrti). 
which, in various families comprising more than five 
hundred species, ate of worhl-wide distribution. I he 
film- bods, leaihcrlihc wings, and night-flying habits 
make of the bat (flittcrmousc. night pnek. bald mouse, 
lcathct wing, etc.) a hir.urc creature; and when to thr-e 
characteristics arc added occasionally bright color, like 
tan. white, or orange, stub strange fiatmes as arc pos- 
sessed bv the leaf nosed and m.vtifl hats, and the dirt of 
blood of the sampite hats, there obviously cxi-ts a jx'pu- 
lar subject for the folklore of the world. Colloquial c\- 
ptessums like "as blind as a bat" and "bats in the Iwlfiy." 
indicate popular interest, if not a scientific actsitacy of 
folk ob'ctvatitm. 

The bats shoit legs, according to the Chitirahtia 
Apache 'tmv of thr ti-scuc from the bright, irsidt from 
the inalulitv of the hos who killed the eagles to keep 
from looking down. flat, b.vkct. and 1k>v fell. Hat's legs 
wnc broken, and remained *lu>tt. Anotilmg to a I.ij'an 
Apache siorv, Hat advi'eil l-ovotc to talr the v.dr of the 
missing Hawk chief, which so aligned the Hawk that 
he threw Hat into a jumper bu>h Since then bats hang 
head downward, even when asleep. did that lif t tut 
caught in the jumper hv his long moccasins Thr night- 
firing of the bat has beer: rsplairird sanmitlv a< thr 
avoidance cif rirditsus (.1 >«pl. as a •rarrh for wives vbo 
ran awav when tlirv >aw Hat in the light .Yavapai In 
diatts of Atirona). av dislike o( ihc darrling light (Philip- 
pine Islands). The l.hmese sas that thr hjt dm hea l 
downward because its brains arc *o hears Among more 
recent (reliefs about the bat rn.iv Ire mentioned the 
"scientific" idea that the hat in flight was able to an : ! 
obstacles by his seme of smell. As a coto'larv result of 
the development of radar, however, ir has ! >~m di»«*s- 
crcd that tlic tcllcction of sounds altovc the range of the 
human car enable thr hat to navigate mrrlv 

Among «omc tribes of Victoria, the ha: is a man's 
brother, a male sexual totem, as the nightjar owl is of 
women, and sactrsl as a intrude animal Toucans h'-Id 
hats sacred, pciliaps as containing the souls of thr dead. 
In parts of Australia, in Hosnia. in Shropshire. England, 
hats ate resjrcctcd, probably for similar »ra<on«. and 
never killed. On the Ivors Coast of \SV»: Africa, t!t-:e is 
an island inhabited by mam largr bats which ate sacird 
to the natives of the mainland liecamc they rmi»!v the 
souls of the dead. A murderer among the Guasali of 
eastern Braril fears that live glimt of his victim w-.H re- 
turn in the shajic of a hat. TIte hat belongs to the gfums. 
according to the Kwakiml of British Columbia, am! 
hunters will not kill them for fear of becoming unluflv 
in the hunt. The Babylonians believed that giwiv in ihc 
form of bats flew through the evening, white a I innivh 
story pictures the soul as a bat. A great tnanv of the 
haunted houses, castles, and caves of Europe and the 


United States retain a strengthened renuwulT~~~ 
of their high bat, lienee ghost, populations 

In Ireland, the bat is a symbol of death, and 
names iv bdi timer, (blind death). A Oatemio,?' ** i:i 
of the Adam and Eve story says thru' „f, ra 
woman approadicd the forbidden sacred bat 'i t 
bringing death into the world. A bat cornin' 
house is an indicator of death in fotfc be'drit ' ° 
in India, Alabama, and Salrburg. IK -~£et 

Although the bat is almost always comMe-cd 
omen, in China and Poland it is a' good <:*— X-? nr '' 
got). Sepi Malo-i. of Samoa, embodied in 2 ]'^ 
liefotc the svar patty svhen they arc to he victmi-t - . 
towards the party if they are to meet defeat- j 
teminisfem cif the eagle's otninriusnxs in Ro-'l 

It is coniidrrcsl lucky to catch a bat in j... 
the familiar jxjpular rime beginning "Hut E 

under my" would indicate, hut ij.j, 'j.'.V'f 
canceled if the bat brings liesfbiigv with it 'jy,* ", , 5 
tion of bats with bedbugs sounds a lift imon-w-i 
the 1 relief that hats coming into a lions; r.mnv t; Z'.C 
tenants will soon move out may b; quite jn j 
with it. On the other hand, in Sarajevo, h its co—wl": 
a house arc a lurks «iprt. at sari'anr; vjtj, t f,„ 
lu-Iirf that hats bring ill liicl. or even efratb 
s-ntrr. To the Chinese, ihc hat signifigi Hg-, j i, ,Ti 
happinrs*. and thr symW of the five bats ir. Lav, "jyl 
for blevmgv: w rjlth. health, love r-f virtue, o’ ; 
a natural death. I-ong life and careslerrt tvg-;bt jp"'- 
from eating bat preparations. Tim of Natal v~ 
not touch thr hat. and we find it spoken cf •; .w 
Bilde as one of the unclean birds an.l av an iwuectri-- 
o! horrible things. '1 he natiics of Victoria vii! E -, e . 
thr bat; and it is tabu as frvy) on Strong bhr.d jg g. 
Pacific. During the Middle Age*, it was th— ag'.t tbaco! 
bat's tongue and heart sicre poivcsi. and tla: y ; -’, 
bh*-d wav a sferufatory. or a ptrventive to t!-; rer vi 
of [duties! hair. In Macedonia, a bat's leg; n 
as a rl-.atm, tincr the (at is considered there ti rle.iir 
of animals. A heart rut from a live hat and lie'. rl: 
tight w ri-r t. here it cannot Ir- ■rrri firings lack ir. gag. 
Wing cMi-'f.vippi/. 

'I lie bat's outstretched wings were toed 1-r gria-r: 
Enemies, say the l.ijsan Apache, for rhe dijnbra~ if 
tfic lints- when hr made the first heme ia. the ir’rr 
world, There iv a common curb m rd railing a fa; 
vsitfi wings o-itsprrad: as a efiatm to keep 1 sr.un rsv 
(Arabic'-, as an amulet (Plinv), a* a fern cf t>:c_-.; 
iSicify). The Kwalittt! rue a bat. or the intestines cf 3 
l>at. as a charm in a child's era.!!.-. fdievirg the: tie 
child will then sleep all dav like the 1 at*. T)r .kta-ref 
Dan think that a bat’s rye will caste ir.v-m.nia. 5 a-ff 
that the bat should Iv spared l«Tausr it is livaysccal- 
ing thr Koran's first jura. The same charm in B fiteca 
a bat's eye. makes its carrier invhib’e. The wir.gcii 
bat pfacrsl on an anthill wo rld present the am ire. 
corning otu, according to r-ne mnfieva! writer: r v r vi: - 
air an ii'.grnb'rr.t in certain gri-gri< of mere came.: tires. 

Among the Britiih r-imc (s'iicse that the f.igh: c; tl": 
hat indicates fair weather; and in Kentucky,!: a«- lhrugba 
that a ha: lighting on the head s, iff cling three caC :: 
thunders. The druids coming up free the ce'-rmr". 
after the tain, in keeping ss ills an incident in a !aa~ 
the Southern t'tc. arc causes! by Bat imr.kirgh:'h:"= 



The devil often takes the form of a bat, according to a 
widespread belief. In Sicily, where the bat is thought of 
as a form of the devil, they sing a song to the bat and 
cither burn it to death or hang it up. In common with 
other “loathcsome” creatures, the bat is thought to bring 
disease. The story is told of a French physician that he 
cured a patient suffering from melancholia by making a 
small incision and releasing a bat he had been holding in 
a bag. Somewhat along the same way of thought, bats (or 
frogs) arc taken from the mouths of possessed persons in 
Nigeria. The Bongo of the Sudan call the bat by the 
same name they give to their witches or spirits, bitabok. 
Bats were thought to be the familiars of witches; the 
imps of one witch were seen to be intermediate between 
rats and bats by one 18th century observer. An Alabama 
Negro belief is that spirits can be spelled into a bat, and 
that they will then cease to be troublesome. 

There is a belief of general European distribution that 
bats will become so entangled in women’s hair that 
nothing but scissors and haircut can get them free, or, in 
Cornwall, a bat may so hold on to a person's face that a 
knife is needed to cut it off again. Almost as widespread 
is the belief that bats will eat bacon hung in the chimney 

The bat is specially invoked by the Lipan Apache to 
prevent the fall of a running horse, since the task of pre- 
venting such falls while the horse is running, as in a 
race, was given to Bat boy by Killer-of-Enemies when he 
made the first horse. Bat is a prominent character in 
Navaho ceremonials. 

Chamalkan, the bat, is the chief god of the Cakchiquel 
Indians of the Pacific coast. In Guatemala, the Mayan 
bat god was Camazotz, who was much dreaded. Sepo 
Malosi and Taisumale are Samoan bat gods connected 
with war. 

There are many folktales, fables, and myths in which 
the bat is a principal character: in the Philippines, 
Africa, North and South America; among the Arabs, 
Europeans, and Polynesians. The European fable of the 
bat who joined both sides in a war between the animals 
and the birds has been shown to be literary and not truly 
of folk making. But the Creek and the Cherokee have a 
story in which bat is refused by both sides as being 
neither animal nor bird, but when tolerated by the ani- 
mals (he has teeth) he wins the game for them. From a 
Philippine talc: the bat is the only survivor of the many 
creatures that went into the composition of the one man 
living; he flew away and became the ancestor of the bats. 
In two humorous Bulu stories, bat becomes the strongest 
of all the animals by getting into champion elephant's 
ear, flapping his wings, and making the elephant so 
dizzy that he falls down; and bat gets all the honey by 
waiting until the animals cut down a honey tree, then 
crawling into a hollow tree, flapping his wings, and scar- 
ing the group away. Och-do-ah, an evil spirit in bat 
form, who poisoned the spring he guarded from noon to 
dawn, is prominent in the legend of the origin of the 
death dance of the New York State Iroquois. Among the 
Plains, Plateau, and Southwestern Indians of the United 
States, Bat, sometimes as Old Woman Bat, is the animal 
rescuer who helps the hero stranded on the high rock or 
tree to get to the ground in the basket held by a strap 
of one thread of a spider's web. Another cycle of the 
Plains and Southwest pictures bat as a trickster-hunter 
whose two wives discover that he is bringing back parts 

of himself as food. By a trick they see him, his teeth and 
pus-filled eyes, and run away. He spies them at a dance, 
there is a fight, and Bat is badly hurt. The story, with 
elaborations or omissions, is found among the Ute, Sho- 
shone, Yavapai, Paiute, and other tribes of the region. 
See VAMriRE. 

Battle of ,1 lag T tired or Moylura The most important 
story in the Old Irish Mythological Cycle: story of the 
victory of the Tuatha De Danann over the Fomorians. 
According to earliest accounts there teas but one battle 
of Mag Tured in which the Tuatha De Danann over- 
threw both the Firbolgs and the Fomorians. Later nar- 
ratives report two battles: the first in what is now county 
Mayo on the west coast of Connacht against the Fir- 
bolgs, the second seven years later in Sligo against the 

IVhen the Tuatha De Danann first arrived in Ireland 
on May 1 the first thing they did to make sure of victory 
was to bum their boats “in order that they themselves 
should not have them to flee therein from Ireland." 
When they demanded the kingship from the Firbolgs, 
they were a long time fighting that battle of Mag Tured, 
but they won at last and the Firbolgs were slain, 1100 
of them, and lay on the plain from Mag Tured to the 
shore. A few survivors fled to islands in the sea: Aran, 
Islay, Mann, and Rathlin. 

In that battle Nuada, king of the Tuatha D£, had one 
arm cut off at the shoulder. A wonderful silver arm teas 
made for him by the physician Diancecht and Credne, 
the brazier, which was a living arm with movement in 
every finger. But he could not be king with only one 
true arm, and the kingship was given to Bros, son of the 
Fomorian king, Elatha, and a woman of themselves. The 
minute Bres was king he laid tribute on Ireland and put 
menial tasks on the champions. Ogma had to carry fire- 
wood, for instance, and Dagda was set to digging ditches. 
The severe exactions and inhospitality of Bres caused 
great discontent among the Tuatha D6 Danann. When 
Cairbre, the poet, came to Bres’s house and was given a 
small dark hut without fire or bed and three dry cakes 
on a small dish, he was not thankful and put a satire on 
Bres that caused his overthrow'. 

In seven years the chiefs asked back the kingdom from 
Bres. He gave it, but went at once to the Fomorians to 
ask their king, his father, for an army. 

“Wliat is the need?” said Elatha. 

“My own injustice is the cause,” said Bres. “I took 
their jewels and their food, and now I need an army to 
take back the kingdom." 

"You should not gain it," said the father, "because of 
the injustice.” But he sent Bres on to Balor and to 
Indech and these mustered a fearful army among the 
Fomorians to fall upon Ireland. 

The second battle of Mag Tured was fought farther to 
the north in Connacht, in what is now county Sligo, on 
Satiiain (Nov. I). Among the kings and chiefs of the Fo- 
morians were Balor and Bres and Elatha, father of Bres, 
Goll and Irgoll Loscennlomm, Indcch, son of the king, 
and Octriallach, son of Indech. It was a bad battle. Lug 
was in front heartening the Tuatha De. The slaughter 
was terrible and dead heroes floated in the river Unsenn. 
Indech wounded Ogma. Balor killed Nuada, but Lug 
killed Balor with a sling-stone into his one eye. It went 
through his head and killed three times nine men be- 
hind him. Seven hundred, seven score, and seven men of 


the Fomorians were killed and counted, and as for the 
test that were killed, it were easier to count the stars in 
the sky. And Lug and Dagda and Ograa pursued the 
remnants back to their own place. 

So the battle of Mag Tured was won. The dead were 
cleared from the ground. Baclb and Morrignn pro- 
claimed the battle and the victory of the Tuatha Dd 
D.mann all over Ireland, to all its fairy hosts, and told 
the tale to the waters around Ireland and to all the 

Battle of Otterbwm A border ballad (Child #1G1) of 
the Scottish-English warfare of the 1-5 1 h century. The 
battle took place on August 19. 13SS, when an English 
force under Harrs (Hotspur) and Ralph Percy attacked 
a Scottish force captained by the Earl of Douglas which 
was raiding Northumberland. Though outnumbered the 
Scots routed the English, captured both Pcrcys. but lost 
the Douglas, who in some versions of the ballad was 
killed b\ Hotspur, in others by a boy. The extant tellings 
of the ballad are much later than the event, hut are un- 
doubtedly survivals of ballads composed about 1500. The 
main torsion given in Child has been told by an English 
apologist, and in that version the English among other 
things are outnumbered and keep the field after the bat- 
tle. The Hunting of the Cheviot probably tells the story 
of the same battle. 

Battle of the Trees Cad Goddett: a battle of Bry- 
thonie mythology fought by Arawn against Amacthon. 
because of the white roebuck, the whelp, and the lapwing 
which Amacthon had taken out of Annwfn. The Triads 
describe it as one of the "three frivolous battles" of Brit- 
ain. The Bool; of Taliesin contains the long, disorgan- 
ized poem. Cad Goddett, which purposes to name the 
trees in the order of battle. 

The battle is also called the Battle of Achrcn because 
there was a woman of that name in the battle on the 
side of Amacthon. Bran fought on the side of Arawn. 
and no one could overcome Bran without guessing his 
name; and the same tiling was true of Achrcn. Gwydion, 
fighting on the side of his brother Amacthon. guessed 
Bran’s name from the alder twigs he carried, and the 
victory went to Amacthon. 

The usual interpretation of the Battle of the Trees is 
that Gwydion turned the trees into warriors. “Warriors 
were dismayed/ At renewal of conflicts/ Such as Gwy- 
dion made. . . . The alders in the front line,' Began the 
affray/ Willow and rowan tree . . ." arc named next, 
then holly, oak, gorsc, ivy, hazel, fir, "cruel the ash tree," 
birch, heath, “tlic long-enduring poplar," and elm. 
"Strong chieftains were the blackthorn.” Whitethorn, 
broom (anciently used for staves of spears), furze, yew, 
and elder arc also mentioned. The "courtly pine," being 
“inexperienced in warfare,” was not in the battle. 

Robert Graves in the While Goddess (New York. 19 IS) 
has undertaken to sort out and rearrange this long and 
disorganized and deliberately garbled poem, the Cad 
Goddett, into a sequence which reveals its ancient mean- 
ing. He agrees with the assumption of the Rev. Edward 
Davies, stated in his Celtic Researches, that the Battle of 
the Trees was not a battle of warriors but a battle of 
letters of the learned. Graves ties up the Battle of the 
Trees with all the symbolism of the ancient Celtic Tree 
Alphabet and the mysteries of the druids ( deneydd 
means oak-seer), and seeks to lay bare a complex magic 
centuries-old and centuries-hiddcn. 


Batu Herem In the belief of the Mcnik KY 
Kintak Bong (Malay peninsula), the stone pillow 
supports the sky. Part or the pillar (the LamW 
projects above the sky. This is loose and balance/' 1 
an angle on the lower part. Four cords run from tv 
part or the pillar to the four quarters of the world ^ 
are weighted with stones which hang below the eanp 
surface. The Batu Herem is said to stand in Koht 
which is therefore the center of the earth’s surface/ 1 

baroque A native Brazilian courtship dance (of \f • 
can origin) imported via Portugal to Spain in the Inf 
century. Some writers on the dance do not differentia' 
it from the ltindu. It is described as originally an!/ 
passioned dance accompanied by finger-snaps,' the jt-i 
fluttering on her toes, her partner drcling around 1/ 
with a winding and twisting pattern until the foi 
embrace. It was popular among all classes, indudi/ 
Negroes and mulattocs. By the 90th centurv it ha? 
become modified into a ballroom dance, [era] 

Ban A principal Sumerian goddess of fcrtilitr. if- 
Great Mother; consort of Ningirsti, and with him chid 
deity of the city of Lappish. The Festival of Bau opened 
the new year in calendars preceding and contemponre 
with Sargon's cm. As the creatrix she is identified nth 
Gttla, the Healer, and with Ma or the serpent gpddess 
Nintu. She seems to be the beneficent aspect ofTiamat. 
tile dragon. Later Bau was absorbed into the personalitv 
of the Semitic Isluar. The Phoenician Baau, mother of 
the first man, may be a translated form. 

Baubo In the Orphic tradition of Greek religion, on; 
of the daughters of Cclcus of Eleusis (elsewhere she is 
called lambc), who by a jest and by obscene gestures 
made the grieving Demeter smile. The jesting and the 
gestures formed part of the Eleusinian rites, and prob- 
ably the story was invented to explain these after the 
fact. Baubo is also considered by some the nurse of 
Demeter, or the nurse of lacdius who in one of the 
common versions of the story himself made the ges- 
tures at Demeter's sorrow. 

bay tree The Grecian laurel ( Lattnts ttobilis). To the 
herbalists the bay was an herb of the sun, under the 
celestial sign of Leo, and a protection against witches, 
the devil, thunder and lightning. Its root was used to 
open obstructions of tile liver, spleen, and other inward 
parts, while the berries were effective against the poisoa 
of venomous creatures and the pestilence and were an 
aid in treating consumption and coughs. According to 
Albcrtus Magnus a wolfs tooth wrapped in a bay leaf 
gathered in August will prevent anyone front speaking 
an angry word to the wearer. The Romans made the 
bay sacred to Apollo who once loved Daphne the 
daughter of the river god, Pencils. She fled from die ged 
and sought the protection of her father who changed 
her into a bay tree. Thenceforth Apollo wore bay 
leaves and a garland or crown of the leaves became 
the award for victory or excellence. The Romans 
believed also that a bay tree was never struck by light- 
ning. The withering of a bay was an omen of death. 

For pleasant dreams put bay leaves under your 
pillow. If burning bay leaves crack noisily, good luck 
will come: it is a bad sign for them to bum without 
snapping. In Britain the bay was long regarded as a 
symbol of resurrection, because a withered bay tree 
will revive from the roots. 



Bead-Spitter and Thrown-Away A Creek Indian story. 
Two young women went in search of Bead-Spitter of 
whom they had heard, because they wanted some beads. 
They met up with Rabbit, who claimed to be Bead- 
Spitter. He tricked them into staying all night, raped 
one of them, and provided some beads. Upon discover- 
ing that the beads were stolen, however, the two girls 
traveled on and arrived at the house of Turkey-Killer. 
He teas the one. He tested the chastity of the two with 
a sieve: water ran through the sieve of the one who 
had slept with Rabbit; the sieve of the other not only 
held water, but when she was told to sift, the water 
came through as beads. This one Turkey-Killer married. 

One day in his absence the wife was devoured by a 
monster, who, however, left her abdomen in the house. 
Turkey-Killer opened it, found a living child inside, 
threw’ the afterbirth in the bushes, and reared his son 
as well as he was able. 

Then follows the story of the little wild brother 
(Thrown-Away), who rose from the afterbirth in the 
bushes, how he was captured, taken into the house 
to be reared with his brother, and the sequence of 
disobediences, adventures, and escapes the two partic- 
ipated in until their mischief-making compelled the 
father to try to get rid of them. The brothers enlisted 
the help of various birds as warners of the father’s 
approach and finally killed their father with a horde of 
bees and wasps. Then with an arrow they rubbed the 
dead man's buttocks and he flew off in the shape of a 
crow. “We must be bad boys,” the two said and decided 
to separate. One went east and one west. There are 
also Alabama and Koasati versions of this story. Another 
Koasati story ( The Origin of Crow) belongs to the 
group, but emphasizes not the miraculous saving of the 
live baby from the dead mother's womb and the after- 
birth-as-twin idea, but only the disobedience of the 
two boys in spying on their father’s activities, his turn- 
ing against them, the killing by bees, and their trans- 
formation of him into Crow’. 

Bead-Spitter plays no spectacular bead-spitting role 
in any of these Muskogean tales. Hearsay about him is 
merely the starting point for a series of adventures of 
the two girls in search of him, or of the two boys born 
of one of them. But the whole bead-spitting idea is so 
common among certain North American Indians (the 
Algonquians, Iroquois, and Muskogeans especially) that 
their bead-spitters should undoubtedly be numbered 
among the remarkable spitters of world folklore. Other 
well-known folk concepts and motifs in this story are 
dipping water with a sieve as a chastity test, a typical 
tar-baby trap in one of the brothers' escapades, enemy 
killed by bees, and the afterbirth as twin. 

Bean-curd Gods In Chinese folk belief, three gods in- 
voked by the bean-curd makers and sellers. The chief 
of these is Huai Nan Tzu because he invented the dish. 
The other two are Chiao Kuan, and Kuan Yii, the 
great war god who was a bean-curd seller in his youth. 

beau dance An agricultural dance addressed to the 
spirit of the life-sustaining bean, with similar objectives 
as the corn dance, but of lesser importance. The Hopi 
Indian bean-sprouting rite, or powamu, is also a puberty 
rite. The Fox Indian bean dance is a contra for men 
and women who cross and recross. The Iroquois bean 
dance, degondaneshonta, or hand-in-hand dance, is a 

slow processional ending with a fast trotting dance or 
ga’dasot. The Iroquois also celebrate a one-day Green 
Bean Festival in August, with a typical succession of 
dances: among the Seneca of Tonawanda reservation, for 
instance, a women’s dance, feather dance, ga’ddsot, hand- 
in-hand, and women’s dance— a succession common to 
other festivals which supplicate and give thanks for 
crops, [gpk] 

beans Beans are all colors and most shapes, according 
to Josh Billings, who was also impressed with the fact 
that a quart of them “biled two hours” come out a 
gallon and a half. They are at least as old as Esau, 
Josh adds, and “there ain’t but phew things that can 
beat a bean climbing a pole.” 

Beans, of which there are 150 species and unnum- 
bered varieties in the world, play a prominent part in 
the ritual and folklore of the world. In the ancient 
Aryan religion they held equal place with honey as 
food for the dead. Beans were used as ballots by the 
early Greeks and Romans: white beans signifying yes, 
black beans, no. The Romans had a festival on June 
1 called the Bean Calends because at that time they 
offered beans to the dead. The Greek bean tabus, as 
articulated by the Orphics, Pythagoreans, and by 
Empedocles, probably stem from the doctrine of the 
immortality and transmigration of the soul through 
its long discipline of human, animal, and plant exist- 
ence. A 4th century B.C. writer, however, testifies that 
Pythagoras himself observed no interdict on beans, but 
esteemed them highly for their laxative effect. Beans 
were on the list of those things so ritually sacred that 
they could not be touched or even named by the Roman 
flamen Dialis. In the old Roman midnight observance 
that dosed the three-day Lemuria (annual entertain- 
ment of the dead) the head of the house walked bare- 
foot through all the rooms throwing black beans behind 
him and saying nine times, “These I give and with 
these I redeem myself and my family.” The ghosts 
followed close behind him, picked up the beans, and 
departed, not to return until their appointed time the 
following year. This ceremony greatly resembles the 
Japanese New Year’s Eve ceremony for driving out 
demons. The head of the household puts on his richest 
garments and goes through all the rooms at midnight 
scattering roasted beans and saying "Out— demons! In 
—luck!” The association of beans with the dead or with 
the powers of the afterworld prevails in many ancient 
and contemporary societies. 

The Seneca Indians believe that beans are the spe- 
cial gift of the creator to man and are under the guar- 
dianship of one of the De-o-ha-ko, the three daugh- 
ters of the great Earth Mother. Among the pueblo 
peoples beans play an important part in the kachina 
rituals. Kachina initiations follow’ the color-order of 
the beans cooked for the kachinas by the families of 
the initiates. In the ceremony of Whipping the Chil- 
dren the little boys are whipped in the order that the 
beans have been cooked in their homes: the little boy 
with the yellow beans gets whipped first, etc. Beans 
are of such importance to the Hopis, both as foodstuff 
and symbol, that they speak of their great Powamu 
ceremony as the Bean Festival when speaking to out- 
siders. They plant beans in the kivas in preparation 
for the Powamu. If the beans grow’ high, it is a good 
omen; if they break before the night on which they are 


to be ait. a \erv bad omen, and the kiva members are 
whipped bv the Shipper for allowing this to happen. 
This Fcbntan bean-planting in the kivas is a kind of 
compulsive magic that influences the summer crop. 
Even- man must go into the hiva in preparation for 
the i’owamu. and must sit up all night. If he falls 
asleep he is whipped, because his sleep will retard the 
growth of the beans. At Walpi beans are included 
with other seeds in the make-up of the Com Spirit 
fetish. At Tewa meal ground from a small white bean 
is used as medicine for neuralgia. At Zufii a bean is 
given to a woman in childbirth to swallow, to hasten 
delivery, because "it slips down quickly.” 

The Kariaks of the Egyptian Sudan twice a year 
honor with a meal of beans the wagtail and the snake, 
in whom thev believe dwells the spirit of the grand- 
mother or Mother of Food. 

Folktale is full of magic beans: speaking beans which 
reprove wrong doers or save fugitives bv speaking in 
their stead, beans that laugh till they split, thus acquir- 
ing their characteristic black stripes (very widespread), 
and the magic beans given to voung boys that grow 
into towering stalks to marvelous tipper worlds. 

Half a white bean is one of the ingredients of certain 
New Orleans voodoo charms. Of unidentified but prob- 
ably European origin arc a number of bean beliefs and 
saws: It is good luck to plant beans on Good Friday. 
Beans should be planted in the light of the moon. If 
you dream of beans von have a rich and cruel unknown 
enemy. If vou dream of beans vou will have a quarrel. 
Beans cause bad dreams, and therefore presage mis- 

bear Early explorers' and travelers' tales about beats 
of the New World are as tall and fabulous as any of the 
bear myths or folktales. The writings of various early 
voyagers maintain that hear atbs arc bom as unformed 
shapeless lumps which the mother licks into shape, that 
bears suck their paws for nourishment while hibernat- 
ing. and sing h-m-m-m-m over the delicacy, thus be- 
traying their hide-outs to hunters. John Bartram, hon- 
est Quaker, explains that when a bear catches a cow, he 
punctures the hide with his tooth, and blows into the 
hole until the cow swells and dies. 

Hunters, woodsmen, and frontier settlers add their 
marvels to the bear stories. A fisherman in the Maine 
woods peeked through a knothole and watched a big 
bear steal his molasses from the cabin shelf, then saw 
him catch twelve trout and leave six in payment— and 
the woman who went to milk the cow in the dark and 
milked a shc-bcar instead (the woman's starving baby 
liked the milk)-and the village strong man walking 
home through the woods in the dark, full of joy and 
other spirits, "rasslcd with a big fellow in a fur coat” 
because he wouldn’t get out of the road. 

Louisiana Negroes say to dream of fighting a bear 
portends persecutions; to dream of a running bear 
means happiness. Ghostly bears have been seen by- 
Georgia Negroes. In Maine when a dog sucked his paws 
it was said that he had a streak of bear in him. Ncw 
Brunswick Indians held that a wounded bear would 
hasten to a boggv place and plug his wound with moss. 

If bears hibernate early, it portends a hard winter. 
February 2 is the dav for the bear's recmcrgence; if he 
comes out of his den and secs his shadow, he will go 
back to -sleep for six more weeks. This weather portent 

has been transferred from the bear to 
generally throughout the United s trr , ", 
Germany bear's gall applied to an-d-h- ” 
said to cure it. If vou meet a be-> r fit 
down and play dead and he will not 'bo'-v ' i: 


lieved to be powerful against diseases- ^ !r 
given a ride on a bear's back to ward c‘- ^ 

sometimes one hair from a bear is him- ' "• 

around their necks. For why the hear h-sV^ o' ' ' 
short tail, see bear fishes through ter wmtT^ 5 
In mythology, folktale, and folk belief* t'- c T" £ 
urcs as god, ancestor, totem, sacred animal" d, ?! 

(in the role of food-giver), as guardian spirit'^' 
lover, wife, husband, child, as tutelary bcstoweVf 
anes and as a curing supernatural spirit .Ji 
and separable soul. ’ ' “ ' 

The bcar is a «cred animal amon- m ,-. r .- ... 
Finno-Ugric peoples. Among the Ob-Ugrian h'e i,T 
son of Xum-torem, god of heaven. fh e ccrrr-- 
performed for hunting, slaughtering, and ca-i-'- ^ 
sacred animal are very complicated. 'because tbnV- 
to do with the sacrifidng of a god. The beat s IxjV^' 
kept unbroken, and arc buried in the same posi-t- 
in the living animal so that the slain bear mav to-- v 
life again. The skull of the bear is hung on a'trcVc'-'j” 
stake. (Karjalainen in FFC 63, p. lSV’jyi . 

OEM At. [JB] 

1^3=- Pentliarly respected, perhaps because of it, „ 
semblance to human beings, the bear enters into c ~t 
North American Indian myths, ceremonies, and MVc 
The tales of Bear-Woman and Dccr-Wonar. or i>- 
TFoman and the Fawns, and of Bear-Woman [If/'- r 
Paramour), are widely known. In several Ciliforr.u I.v 
dian tribes shamans impersonated bean, or were ln:< 
formed into bears according to popular belief. Bcar to 
also considered a powerful spirit helper from v,h~n 
vision seekers obtained supernatural power. Amen; til 
ciraimpolar peoples special rites are undertaken wheat 
bear is killed; a speech of apology is made to the dad 
bear, who is often addressed as grandfather, and tefr-r 
the flesh is eaten the body, head, or hide is laid pj:. 
decorated with beads and cloth; special attention is 
given to the disposal of the bones. Some of tl:c-e r 
servances have diffused as far south as the Ccr.m! 
Woodlands and Northeastern Algonquians of the UrJ-.el 
States, [ewv] 

beard Sharing with hair much reverential 
the beard has received plenty of its own. Thro::;: 
many years and in widely separated tribes it lias b«n 
the sign and symbol of many attributes, including r-. 
only the obvious ones of masatlinity and strength l-.; 
also the rather illogically inferred qualities of w-isdor. 
dignity, sanctity, responsibility, nobility, and royalty. 

Races of men naturally beardless, like the Mongo'itr.i 
and -American Indians, were sometimes cmrncv-di 
deemed efTeminate by their bearded ncighliors. Atccri- 
ing to Herodotus (i, 105) the ancient Greeks deride. 1 , 
tlie beardless Scythian men must be women, sufcirt 
this humiliating condition as a punishment by :: 
avenging deity for having plundered the temple t! 
Aphrodite. The Emperor Julian in the introductny 
paragraphs of his celebrated satire Misoposton (Beerd- 
Hatcr) written in Antioch during the winter of ' - - 
362 taunted the Antiochians about the smooth cl::.* 

n 125 


which "so slightly revealed and barely indicated" their 
i manhood. In some Eastern countries a smooth face is 
deemed to indicate effeminacy; consequently the clergy 
. of the churches in those parts have found it advisable 
' not to shave. By the same token missionaries from 

Western lands where beards arc forbidden to the clergy 
arc, by a special dispensation, permitted to wear them 
in the East. 

Erasmus in his Adagia (1523), noting that several 
classic writers had connected beards with wisdom, such 
as Lucian’s mention of the "learned beard," explains 
that "As the beard is not completely formed until the 
.•we of manhood, it lias always been considered an em- 
blem of wisdom." Ratber more subtly the author of 
Pcipt>c With an Hatchet wrote in the same century 
(1589), “Let me stroakc my beard thrice like a Germin, 
before I speak a wise word.” 

Erasmus might have added that in classic times the 
philosophers of Greece bad proudly worn the beard 
as a distinctive badge of their learned profession. Alex- 
ander the Great (35G-323 ILC.) had introduced the 
custom of shaving, for the alleged reason of thus afford- 
ing no opportunity for the enemy to scire his soldiers 
by their beards. The custom then spread from Mace- 
donia throughout the whole Greek world. Aristotle, 
alone among the philosophers, conformed to his famous 
pupil’s innovation. They retained their beards, rather 
defiantly, as a distinctive mark, and for centuries after 
the Macedonian period the Greek word pogonolrofihos, 
"man with a beard,” meant philosopher. 

While the French have a proverb reminding their 
young men that “II esi temps d’etre sage, quand on a 
la barbe att memoir" (It is time to be wise now that you 
have a beard on your chin), they also have another 
“La barbe uc fait pas I’hommc" (The beard docs not 
make the man), recognising that physical maturity docs 
not necessarily bring sapience. Thomas D’lirfcy was 
merely versifying the observations of several prede- 
cessors when lie wrote (1G90): 

If Providence did beards devise. 

To prove the svearers of them wise, 

A fulsome Goat would then by Nature 
Excel each other human creature. 

In spile of ridicule the beard maintained its position 
as an emblem of dignity and any assault upon it was 
regarded as an indignity and highly dangerous, re- 
flected in the common phrase “to beard the lion in his 
den,” that is, to pull his beard. In April, 1587, Sir 
Francis Drake, returning from his bold raid on the 
Spanish fleet in the harbor of Cadiz, boasted, "I have 
singed the Spanish king’s beard!" In ancient Israel, 
according to II Samuel x, -1 IT., compelling a man to 
cut off his beard was tantamount to insult and disgrace. 
The Israelite wore a full beard and it was never shaved 
except in case of leprosy ( Leviticus xiv, 9) or for the 
deepest mourning ( Jeremiah xli, -1-7). Even trimming 
the beard was forbidden ( Leviticus xix, 27, xxi, 5). 
Wien the Ammonites shaved off one half of the beard 
of each of David's servants, "the men were greatly 
ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your 
beards be grown, and then return. And . . . the chil- 
dren of Ammon saw that they stank before David" 
(II Samuel x, 5-0). They knew that they had wounded 
the pride of the Israelites in the sorest spot, their 

beards. The succeeding verses record the bloody ven- 
geance which David wreaked on the Ammonites and 
their allies for this supreme indignity. 

For among Orientals, especially those of Semitic 
racial strains, the beard is not only a sign of manhood, 
wisdom, and dignity: it is actually sacred to the point 
of sanctity. It was sacred enough to swear by, as the 
Semitic Moslems frequently did. Mohammed kept his 
beard unshorn and his followers kept theirs uncut in 
faithful discipleship. Indeed the most devout saved 
every hair that fell from their beards, adding it to the 
collection preserved in a small box they carried with 
them for the purpose. The box was buried with them. 
It was and still is considered, among orthodox Moslems, 
that to swear by the beard of the Prophet and their 
own is as if one swoie in the presence of Allah himself. 

Various reasons have been alleged for this over- 
anxiety to preserve the integrity of the beard. The 
Jewish Encyclopedia states that Jewish sages agree that 
the reason is "that God gave man a beard to distin- 
guish him from woman and that it is therefore wrong 
to antagonize nature." A Defence of the Heard, pub- 
lished by James Ward (1709-1859), gave eighteen Scrip- 
tural "reasons why man was bound to grow a beard, 
unless he was indifferent to offending the Creator and 
good taste." Another (pseudonymous) defender of the 
beard called it a "Divinely provided chest protector." 

These apologia arc likely to be deemed mere ration- 
alizing when considered in the light of the well-known 
anthropological fact that all over the world, among 
not only primitive tribes but scmicivilizcd as Well, it 
is believed that black magic can work through and by 
the hair of the victim. Any part of the body, even a 
single captmed hair, is vulnerable to sorcery. It em- 
bodies a part of the soul of the man from whose beard 
it came. He who possesses it has power over the origi- 
nal owner. z\mong some tribes a captive is kept pris- 
oner by the simple process of the captor cutting off a 
lock of the captive’s hair and keeping it safe. The 
prisoner is not bound or restrained in any other way. 

Like the beard of Mohammed, that of a king was 
reckoned particularly sacred and important to the 
whole realm. When Philip V of Spain could not grow 
a beard, nor Louis XIII of France, their loyal subjects 
shaved off their own. z\nd "there’s such divinity doth 
hedge a king” that at one time it was thought that 
three hairs from a French king's beard secured under 
the wax seal on a document assured the fulfilment of 
the promises in it. 

The ancient kings of Persia, Nineveh, Assyria, and 
Babylon arc depicted with beards. For state occasions 
Egyptian kings, often naturally smooth-chinned, and 
at least one queen, Hatshcpsut, put on false beards. 
So did the artists picture Abraham and Adam, and 
Zeus and Christ and Jehovah himself. It was part of 
their divinity, accoiding to the belief of the artist. To 
draw God without a beard wotdd still in some parts be 
deemed blatant blasphemy. 

Legend and folklore have ever found beards of in- 
terest. A favorite talc in several versions tells of a sleep- 
ing king with a long beard in a mountain cavern. 
Frederick II (1191-1250), Holy Roman emperor, king 
of Sicily and Jerusalem, was for a long time after his 
death believed to be still alive, sitting in a cave in the 
Kyifhiiuscr mountain in Thuringia, asleep at a stone 


table through which his beard had grown. When the 
fullness of time had come he would wake and restore the 
Golden Age of Peace to the Empire. The legend was 
later attached to his grandfather, Frederick I, probably 
because the elder king had a better beard for the story 
and was known by it as Frederick Barbarossa. 

Even the nursery tales of children preserve the 
ancient idea of the oath upon the beard: 

“Little pig, little pig, let me come in!" 

“No, no, by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!” 

Charles Francis Potter 

Bear Dance A mimetic dance in imitation of the bear, 
usually performed for curative purposes: among the 
Indians of North America performed by ceremonial 
societies. Most realistic were the representations by the 
Plains-Cree in complete bearskins or masks. Despite 
the enactment of bunting, the dance was also a prayci 
for long life. In the Hesi cycle of California tribes the 
grizzly-bear impersonation is realistic in action and 
appearance (the Maidu pano-ng-kasi and Miwok uzu- 
tnali). Members of the Pawnee Bear Society received 
their curative powers from the sun and danced head 
down with their palms up to receive the rays. This 
gesture is also found in the Fox Grizzly-Bear Dance. 
Among the Fox and Iroquois, women participate as 
well as men, not in special costume but with a bcarlike 
waddle. The former dance is performed in a straight 
line: the latter is a trotting progression in an anti- 
clockwise circle. The Cherokee yona progresses like the 
Iroquois nyagu'ai’oeno, with the same waddling shuttle 
and vocal antiphony, but it differs by winding into a 
spiral, and by adding clawing gestures, similar to those 
of the Fox Indian bear dancers, and by underscoring 
the antiphony with movement responses. Among the 
Cherokee this one-time ritual has become secularized to 
the point of obscene raillery; among the Iroquois and 
Fox it has preserved its curative aspects, though without 
healing tricks as in the Ponca matcogaliri. Hunting 
functions have fallen by the way along with the loss of 
this pursuit for sustenance. The same is true among 
Plains tribes as the Ute, where the bear dance is an 
annual huge social celebration, with vague reference to 
the animal, [crx] 

bear fishes through ice with tail A general and very 
widespread European folktale motif (A221G.1 ; Type 2) 
explaining why the bear has no tail (or a short tail). 
Bear originally had a long tail like the other animals. 
One winter day he was persuaded by Fox to fish through 
a hole in the ice with his tail. The tail froze fast in the 
ice; and when he was attacked and jumped up to escape, 
it broke off. 

This one motif comprises one of the most famous ani- 
mal stories in Europe, especially in the Baltic countries, 
so popular as to have migrated into Africa and the 
Americas, even into some regions where tile bear is un- 
known. It is included in a cycle of animal tales gathered 
together in the Middle Ages into the famous Roman de 
Rcnart. Kaarle Krohn's study of these stories, Bar und 
Fuchs (18S6), puts their probable origin it northern 
Germany and holds that they were then (1NSG) at least 
1000 years old. He attributes ;.;c transference of the 
tail-in-the-ice experience from b<ar (illogically) to wolf 
to the influence of Reynard the Fox (a sophisticated and 
satirical usage of die original folk material) in which 

wolfs wife is tricked by the fox into fish!,,, , v! ,. v 
tail tluough the ice. and is raped bv the fm\ , 
cannot pull free. ^ " h ™ dr 

There are three known African versions of ,v 
and 13 North American Indian tellings. ) n tt] ? f ‘? or T 
version the tale adapts itself to an iceless 
world in that Fox fools Bear merely into usinc hi! 
to fish with, and it is bitten oil. The story t u , 
among southern United States Negroes with r!u- P 
having his tail snapped ott through the ice the 

Bear Foster Parent Title of a North American Ind 
myth very widespread among tribes of the North™ 
Woodlands area, and known also among the KutenakT 
dians of Montana and British Columbia. A lost child”' 
discovered in the woods by a she-bear, adopted 2r ,d 
reared with the cubs, taught to eat bear food, and taken 
into hibernation in the cave when cold weather come 

One night the old bear wakes up and sings, “Comr 
the people wish us to help them.” This happens at tk» 
time the Indians are smoking their pipes and praim» 
for food and well-being. So the she-bear and the cub 
leave the cave. When they return they bear ami-loads 
of pipestems, each representing a prayer. The old beat 
examines each stem: the true prayers are put in one 
pile, to be granted; the pipestems of those who mocked 
the bears arc put in another pile. The names ol thee 
people are remembered, to be terrified by the bears in 
the Summer. In the Spring the bears and the boy come 
out of the cave and wander in warm places until the 
time comes again for the long winter sleep in the cate. 

When the Indians again begin to perform the Ear 
Ceremony, the old bear hears them, and this time gives 
the young boy the power also to hear his people singin» 
and dancing. Again the bears go forth and bring back 
the pipestems, and this time the boy too is taught to 
“read” them. In the Spring when the bears again emerge 
from the cave, the boy is sent back to his own people, 
with messages from the bears to pray only in earnest. 
The boy’s father, who had thought his child was dead, 
receives him with joy. The boy tells the people how the 
bears can hear the prayers, can tell the difference be- 
tween the true and insincere petitions, and “feel like’ 
helping only persons of integrity. 

Bear medicine The curing power of the bear: a con- 
cept of certain Pueblo and other North American In- 
dian religions. Bear is the most powerful patron of 
Kercsan, Tcwan, and Zuui curing societies. Shamans 
“call the bear” to come and attend the curing rituals, 
and Bear comes. When the shaman pulls on the bear- 
paws and impersonates the bear, lie is Bear, and then 
possesses the curing power of Bear. He can transform 
himself into a real bear, just as bears can transform 
themselves into men. When he dies a shaman goes to 
live with the bears in the spirit world. Bear gave to 
mankind a particularly potent medicine, the aster root. 
It is named for Bear (bear root, bear medicine) and is 
regarded almost as a cure-all. During a curing ceremony 
the shaman chews the bear root, which induces in him 
a trancelike condition during which he can “see” the 
witch who has caused the illness of his patient. 

All members of the Chippewa Indian Midewiwin 
(curing society) arc said to “follow the bear path;” ie. 
they use the wonderful medicines revealed to them b} 



the bear. The Sioux also value especially the medicines 
given to mankind by the bear. They regard him as the 
chief of all healing animals, partly because his clans are 
so well adapted to digging roots, partly because benev- 
olence from an animal usually considered ill-tempered 
takes on particular significance. See animal curers; 


Bear’s Ear Title and hero of an Avar (Caucasian) story 
belonging to the ancient and widespread Eurasian 
Bear’s Son cycle of folktales and also to the dragon- 
fight cycle. Bear's Ear is the typical Bear’s Son by virtue 
of the bear’s ears and superhuman strength inherited 
from his bear father. He saves the daughter of an 
underworld king from a water-hoarding dragon. One 
day out of every year a maiden is sacrificed to the 
dragon in return for a floiv of waters on that day. Bear’s 
Ear kills the monster and is offered the maiden in 
marriage. But he refuses the reward, desiring more to 
return to the upper w'orld. This is one of the tales in 
the vast dragon-fight cycle in which the hero does not 
marry the sacrificial maiden. 

bearskin quiver comes to life The motif of a story in 
the Apache Indian Coyote cycle: told by the Chiri- 
cahua, Mescalero, Jicarilla, and White Mountain Apa- 
ches. In the Chiricahua version Coyote killed a bear, 
dried the hide, and was going to make a quiver of it. 
Someone came along and advised him not to do that 
or misfortune would befall him. But Coyote went ahead 
and made the quiver, slung it over his back, and went 
along, went along. He came to a place where there 
were many walnuts on the ground. He leaned the 
quiver against the tree and began to pick up the wal- 
nuts. The quiver began to shake: it came to life; it 
was a bear again. The bear chased Coyote. 

Coyote ran and ran. He met Gopher. “Why are you 
running?" said Gopher. “Bear is after me.” "Jump 
in,” said Gopher. So Coyote hid in Gopher’s cheek 
pouch. Bear came along. “What have you got in your 
mouth?” said Bear. “Teeth,” said Gopher. But Bear 
gave him a good kick and Coyote tumbled out. Bear 
chased him. Coyote ran and ran, and at last got away. 

This story is of special interest for its embodiment of 
the Chiricahua Apache awe of the bear. They will not 
eat bear meat, touch or use the hide for fear of being 
visited with grave and mysterious ills. 

Bear’s Son Generic term for and hero of a cycle of 
folktales (Type 301) very widespread in Europe and 
Asia. F. Panzer’s Studien zur germanischen Sagenge- 
schichtc reports some 200 variants of the tale in 20 lan- 
guages, from all over Europe and some regions in Asia. 
In the most primitive form of the story Bear’s Son is: 
1) a youth of superhuman strength, son of a bear who 
has stolen the youth’s mother (FG11.1.1), or 2) the 
human son of a woman (abducted by or married to a 
bear while pregnant by a human husband), born in 
the bear’s cave and having acquired bear character- 
istics (BG35.1). In these versions mother and son usually 
return to the woman’s home and the child is adopted 
by the human father; the youth often avenges his 
mother by killing the bear. As told in Germany and 
Croatia, the child is stolen by a she-bear, and acquires 
bear-strength and bear-nature from being suckled by 
the bear. In all instances, however, the boy has bear 

characteristics: bear’s teeth, or ears, or is hairy'. He 
always possesses the superhuman strength of the bear, 
and he always performs superhuman feats. He kills 
monsters; he slays a dragon, always rescuing either a 
maiden who is being sacrificed to it or a whole city 
from its depredations. 

There are a number of North American Indian 
stories of the Bear’s Son in which a woman wanders 
too far from a settlement, usually while picking berries, 
and is lost. She marries a bear in the forest and gives 
birth to either one or two bear cubs. These she trans- 
forms into human shape. Then follows the long 
sequence of their adventures in which human wit plus 
bear-strength carries all to success. 

In most European tellings, the hero (often a youngest 
son) acquires before starting on his adventures some 
wonderful or miraculous weapon, adds to himself a 
group of extraordinary companions (F601 ff.) with 
whom he comes to and enters an empty house (G475.1). 
The owner arrives (a supernatural being of some sort- 
dwarf, giant, ogre, demon) who maltreats one by one 
the hero’s companions. The hero himself then fights 
the monster, w'ounds it, follows it to the underrvorld 
(F93 ff.) (often underwater) by its trail of blood; 
there he kills it and either rescues a maiden or a prin- 
cess from a dragon or wins great treasure (N773; Rill). 
By some treachery or desertion on the part of the 
companions (K1931.2) he is long delayed from return- 
ing home. The story often ends with the companions 
returning home with a number of liberated maidens, 
and the hero arriving at the last minute to stop the 
marriage of the youngest one and marry her himself. 
(N681; L161). This, in outline the German folktale The 
Gnome (Grimm #91) , is the typical Bear's Son story. 

The superhuman deeds of Beowulf, especially his 
struggle with Grendel in the mead hall, the pursuit 
by the trail of blood to the undersea cave, the nine-day 
underwater battle with Grendel’s dam, and the final 
flaying of the treasure-guarding firedrake, have led 
many scholars (F. Panzer and others) to fit the Beowulf 
story into the Bear’s Son pattern. Dr. Rhys Carpenter 
has done the same for the Odysseus legend in Chapter 
VII of his Folktale, Fiction and Saga in the Homeric 

The frequency with which Bear’s Son slays dragons 
associates, inevitably, the Bear’s Son with the dragon- 
slaying cycle, especially in so far as the dragon slayer 
is of miraculous birth. In later fairy tale many heroes 
have been identified as Bear's Sons by transference: 
they perform deeds identified with Bear’s Son deeds, 
or the story pattern follows, or almost follows, the 
Bear’s Son formula. The actual bear origin of the hero 
is either forgotten, over a period of time and retellings 
which enhance the adventures per se, or as has been 
suggested by O. L. Olsen in his Relation of the Hrolf- 
saga Krake and Biarkarimur to Beowulf, Chicago, 1916, 
sophisticated fairy tale has purposely substituted the 
dragon-slaying for the original (bear) patricide. Grimm’s 
The Gnome, classified as belonging to the Bear’s Son 
cycle, excellently illustrates the whole transmorphosis. 

bear taken for a cat The motif (K.1728; Type 11GI) 
of a popular European folktale in which a trouble- 
some ogre, bogle, etc., is gotten rid of by the bear of 
an itinerant bear trainer. The ogre (or bogle) always 


returns, asking if the big cat is still there, and on 
being told >cs, and that it has three kittens, gives up 
haunting that place forever. Sec Boctx in the Mill. 

Bear Went Over the Mountain An American humor- 
ous song about a bear who went to sec what he could 
sec and found nothing but the other side of the moun- 
tain. It is one of many texts set to an air dating from 
the time of the Crusades* See Malbeougu s’en va t f.n 


bear whispered in man's car A general European folk- 
tale motif (J14SS) found typically in ALsop's fable of 
The Travelers and the Bear or The Bear in the Wood. 
A traveler and his companion (or paid guide) met a bear 
in the forest. One of them was terrified and climbed a 
tree, regardless of what might happen to the other. The 
other traveler fell down, held his breath, and played 
dead. The bear approached, sniffed his face and ears, 
and walked away. When the one in the tree climbed 
down, he said, "What did the hear whisper to you?” 
"He said never trust a coward.” This motif embodies 
the old belief that a bear will not touch a dead man, 
and that to lie still and play dead is a sure way to avoid 
being molested. 

Bear Wife or Bear Woman Title of a number of 
North American Indian stories in which a man has a 
bear for a wife. These are known all over the continent, 
among the northeastern Algonquians, the Plains tribes, 
and the Carrier Indians of British Columbia. In a Fort 
Fraser Carrier Indian tale a young man hunting in the 
woods meets a young woman who turns out to be a 
black bear. He kills a grizzly for her who is an enemy to 
her people, and lives happily with her until salmon- 
fishing time. Then lie takes his wife and returns to his 
own village. The Bear Wife refuses to help with the 
communal drying of fish and also refuses to gather 
berries. When the winter supply of food is all gone, 
however, site reveals a miraculous underground store of 
dried salmon and dried berries, so that no one in the 
village lacks for food all winter. 

In the summer when all the families go to the fishing 
places; there the young husband chances to meet and 
fiirt with a former sweetheart. The Bear Wife knows 
this and weeps all night. In the morning she and her 
child change into bears and go away. Sorrowfully the 
young man follows their tracks, looking for them, but 
they have disappeared. This story contains the typical 
disappearance of the offended supernatural wife (or 

Bear Woman Title of a North American Indian folk- 
tale known to the tribes of the North Pacific Coast, Cali- 
fornia, the Plateau, Plains, Central Woodlands, and the 
Southwest. In the typical Bear Woman stories a )oung 
woman commits adulter)’ with a bear or has a bear 
lover. Her family discover this and kill the bear, where- 
upon the girl instantly changes into a bear and attacks 
the slayers of her lover. Her family (usually a little 
sister, a little brother, and a number of older brothers) 
escape by means of the magic obstacle flight. The angry 
Bear Woman follows them; they discover that she is in- 
vulnerable; the one vulnerable spot is revealed to them 
by a bird; one of the brothers shoots the bear, and she 
falls dead. In some versions the children are unwilling 
to return home because all their relatives are dead, so 
they decide to live in the sky. Thus they become the 


Seven Stars (Ursa Major): the little brother isth 7 
star, the sister is nearest him. and the fisc broth t f 
low in order of age. " ,tr! 

On the North Pacific Coast the BtsrAVo-., 
a young Indian woman who changes into a w’ 3 -* 
has twin cubs. Argillite carvings of the Bear-W ’ 
myth have been produced in recent times on the w 
Pacific Coast. For a description of these, ami di scu «-^ 
of the myth, see Marius Barbcau, "Bear Mother'' tin 
59, p. 231 If. [ewv] IUL 

i*g=- The Chinese give a Bear Woman exphnafi- 
for the non-Chinese Gold tribe custom (Lower Sun- - 
of always offering a girl in marriage first to a matemd 
uncle. The story is the usual one of a young p t i 
ducted by a bear. The child bom to them was a dau-k 
ter. After a number of years the girl's brother discovered 
her whereabouts, killed the bear, took the woman an' 
her young daughter back home, and married the dm-V 
ter. Ever since then a marriageable girl is first offered to 
her maternal unde. Only if he does not want her cm 
she be married to anyone else. The Chinese say this d 
because only on the mother's side are the Gold peop’- 
human; the ancestors of the fathers were bears. Tt t 
Gold themselves deny this. 

Bear-Woman and the Founts Title of a very wide, 
spread California Indian story telling how two fawns 
escaped from Bear-Woman, who had killed their 
mother. The Lassik version is more or less represent!, 
live. Grizzly Bear and Deer were the wives of Chicken- 
liawk. One day by the river Grizzly Bear, pretending 
to dclonse Deer, killed her instead and took the head 
home to roast. Deer's two children cried ottt when 
they recognized their mother’s head roasting in the 
fire, but were told to go and play. As they went, the 
Deer-mother’s hair cried out to them in warning that 
their lives were in danger. Deer's children and Bear's 
children were playing together, and the two fawns 
made a fire and smothered Bear's children with the 
smoke in a hollow log. They took the meat home and 
gave it to Bear- Woman. She cooked it and while she 
was eating it the two fawns taunted her with eating 
her own children, and ran off. Bear-Woman chased 
them. The fawns ran and ran; Bear-Woman was after 
them. They were almost caught. But when they came 
to a river old Grandfather Crane stretched out his 
neck and made a bridge for them to cross. The two 
deer children crossed over and were safe. When Bear- 
Woman came along and tried to cross over the crane 
bridge, old Grandfather Crane gave a twist to his ned; 
she fell off and was carried away by the river. 

This story, very prominent among the California 
Indians, is known also with variations among certain 
Indians of the Plateau area and the North Pacific tribes. 
The Shoshoni of the Plains also have a version, 

beast epic A cycle of tales having an animal, e.g. 
Reynard the Fox, as its central character. Compare .am- 

beast gods The animal curers, intercessors, guardians, 
and companions of Zufii and other Pueblo Indian re- 
ligion. Certain birds, in the role of messengers and 
scouts, arc associated with them. They are also regarded 
as spirits, and they dwell “in the cast” in Shipap, or 
(Zufii) Shipapolima, the spirit land of the dead; all 
curing rituals are performed to the cast. Specific ani- 



rr.ais arc specifically associated with the six ritual direc- 
tion'. however, differing in the different pueblos: 
North, mountain lion, oriole: West, bear, bluebird, 
i, easel; South, badger, wildcat, parrot: East, gray wolf, 
rraraie: Zenith, eagle: Nadir, mole, gopher. Sec animal 
cvtxks: Barer* .'rmtctsr: Ekar Jtmnsr. 

bca't marriaee A common motif of folktale and ballad 
found all over the world, in which a human f icing is 
married to a bca't. in very primitive: tales to an actual 
animal, in later elaborations to a human being doomed 
to can't in Iic.i't form until some woman will love him 
in the bca't-'hape. Often the human lover must also 
burn the sloughed shin of the animal spouse in order 
to clinch the disenchantment. The .'lories fall into cer- 
tain tapes: tho<c in which the Switched lover cannot 
return to human form until some woman's devotion 
proves stronecr titan the syiell; tho<c in which the lover 
tahes on animal form himself to go a-wooing; those in 
which a deity assumes animal form ami carries off a 
human bride, and those in which some animal by 
union with a human Ixting Itccomcs the ancestor of a 
tribe. There are stories of marriage to a person in ani- 
mal form, in which one or the other spouse is a beast 
bvdav and human by night, involving either a formula 
for di'cnd’.antm.ent or tabus against discovers ; and 
there arc stories of marriages to animals in human 
form, involving tabus against naming or mentioning 
Ie>t they vanish or depart. The list is endless: marriage 
to a god in bull form (Greet), to a human being in dog 
form ‘Chinese, North American Indian), to a deer 
(Iri‘h. North American Indian!, a sea! (Celtic), snake 
or serpent ‘Hindu. Indochinese. Ba>nte, Kaffir. Zulu), 
(ox ‘Indonesian. North American Indian. Chinese. Japa- 
nese), lion (Angolian). bee (Indonesian), crane (Japane*e). 
elephant (Hottentot), vulture (South American Indian), 
fish cr v< hate (North American Indian). The E'kitno story 
cf Sedna who married a gull (or a dog) is very well 
brown, and is clcwcly related to the Dog Htuhand 
stories. The story of the two girls who wished for an 
eagle and a whale for husbands, got them, and had a 
hard time escaping is common among the Greenland, 
Labrador, and West Hudson Bay tribes. 

The motif turns tip in every country in Europe. Some 
scholar* claim Indian origin for it: others Isold that it 
is too widespread and too scattered for this theory to lie 
reasonable. Mac. de Beaumont’s Beauty cr.d li;r Beast 
and Grimm's l rog Putter arc famous European versions. 
A more modern treatment is Keats' ter te. Sec animal 
rit am of*; s.vvsr. tabu; swan mauiEN. 
reS 3 " Tales of beast marriages between men or women 
and animals ate of frequent occurrence in North Amer- 
ican Indian mythology. Some of the most widespread 
arc the Eox-vife story of the Esbimo, the Piquet! 
Buffalo Wife story of the Plains and Eastern Wood- 
lands, Splimer-Eoot-Giil of the Plains (in which the 
heroine marries a buffalo bull). Eagle and Whale Hus- 
band stories of the Eskimo, Snake Husband and Bear 
Husband tales of the Plains. Dog Husband of the North 
Pacific Coast, and Deer Wife of the Plateau, {t.vvvj 

beating the bounds A ceremonial procc*'ion about 
the boundaries of the community with stops at the sev- 
eral landmarks. It was a spiring festival, at Easter or on 
May Day, and in recent times combined religious cere- 
monies vdth feasting, drinking and merry making. At 

the landmarks voting people were ceremonially whipped 
*'io helps them remember" or thrown into the boundary 
streams for the same purpose. In Cork. Ireland, in the 
last century, the mayor in robes of ceremony threw a 
dart into the harbor. The place where it fell marked 
the limit of municipal authority. The cu<tom is aho 
known from ancient Greece and Rome and more re- 
cently in Russia. Norway, and elsewhere in Europe. 
Similar ceremonies which give pcopilc an excuse to get 
out of doors in the spiring arc known in raw parts of 
the world. Phallic boundary-markers (the two-headed 
Janus), together with suggestions advanced by Granct in 
his studies of ancient China, lead to the possibility that 
this segment of the complex of spring festivals was at 
one time connected with Icrtility rites. Other names for 
the ceremony arc "riding the marches," "riding the 
fringes, " "common riding." [imp] 

Beauty mid tlte Beast Generic title of a world-wide 
beast-marriage story of which Mine. Lcprince de Beau- 
mont's version is the renowned example. Beauty and 
the Beast belongs to that cycle of licast-marriage stories 
in which the pirincc. magically transformed into beast 
or monster, can lie delivered or un'pellcd only by the 
love and devotion of a woman. 

The heroine is the youngest daughter of a merchant 
who has lost Ins fortune. Before setting out on a journey 
to retrieve his losses, the merchant asks each of his three 
daughters what he ‘hall bring home. The two elder 
ask for sumptuous presents: Beauty a«ks for a rose. 
The merchant fails to regain his wealth, but on the way 
home picks a rmc in the garden of a wonderful palace 
where he finds himself mysteriously entertained. The 
minute lie plucks the rose the Bea>t appears, thtcaten- 
ing him with death for the theft, unless lie will send 
back one of hts daughters in his stead. Beauty volun- 
teers to go to the Bea<t. 'I here in his palace, surrounded 
by luxury and kindness, she rcalitc-s that the hideous 
ertatute with whom she lives is of a generous and noble 
natutc. Admiration for bis character and pity for his 
plight gradually turn to genuine allcction. A numlicr of 
stock incidents follow: pcrmix'ion to go home to sec her 
dying father, the vi'it overstayed beyond the promised 
moment, the mirror as life-token of the Beast which re- 
veals that lie is dying, arid the magic journey back to 
the Bca't's garden. There Beauty finds him almost dead, 
but her grief for him and her avowal of love suddenly 
unspell the terrible enchantment. The l»c3utiful prince 
is thus liberated from his lieasi form, and Beauty be- 
comes his queen. The good old father is benefited; the 
jealous sisters are punished. 

There are Basque. Swiss, German. English. Italian. 
Portuguese. Lithuanian. Magyar, Indian, and Kaffir scr- 
sions of this story. In the Basque story the beast is a 
huge serpent, his life-token a ring instead of a mirror. 
In the Lithuanian story the beast is a white wolf, in the 
Magyar version, a pig. Pcrratilt's Piquet it la llouppe is 
almost this identical Beauty and the Beast story, but 
with the sophisticated, unfolkloristic moral attached. 
Grimm’s Prvg Prince (ri 1) and the British The Well 
At the World's End Iioth follow the true Beauty and 
the Beast pattern of disenchantment through love and 
devotion, as docs also the unique Kaffir tale in which 
the young girl consents to lick the crocodile's face and 
i- rewarded by having a handsome prince slowly emerge. 


The Scottish ballad Kemp Owyne (Child #34) elabo- 
rates the same theme in reverse: it is the lady tvho is 
transformed into a thing of horror and released by the 
kisses of her lover. Compare loathly lady. 

Beaver Among several North Pacific Coast, riatcau, 
and Northern Athabaskan American Indian groups, 
Beaver is the companion of Porcupine, who tricks his 
friend and is in turn tricked. Talcs of beaver-husband 
or beaver-wife are popular animal-marriage tales of the 
Ojibwa and other Central Algonquian Indians, [ewv] 

Bedier, (Charles Marie) Joseph (1864-1933) French 
author and medievalist. He was appointed professor of 
medieval French language and literature at the College 
de France in 1893 and in the same year won his doc- 
torate with I-cs fabliaux. This work constituted a strong 
refutation of Theodor Bcnfey’s famous Indianist theory 
for the origin of the folktale. Bddier’s attack did not at 
once wean away the Indianist disciples, but stimulated 
stricter scientific approach on the part of sudi scholars 
as G. Paris and E. Cosquin. His prose adaptation of 
Roman de Tristan et Yseult was published in 1900; 
a study. La formation des legendes epiques, in 1908; 
Les chansons des croisades in 1909; and a critical 
edition of Chanson de Roland in 1921. In Les fabliaux 
Bedier attacked the intuitive method of Benfey as 
falling short of ultimate analysis. He said merry tales, 
particularly, have such simple plots that comparison 
and analysis of great numbers of variants can have no 
worthwhile result. Bddier advocated the theory that 
medieval epic cycles found their development along the 
routes of pilgrimages. 

beech (from Old English becc, hoc, beech or book, from 
the fact that the early Saxons and other Teutonic 
peoples wrote their runes on thin beech boards.) The 
beech, like the ash, is instantly deadly to snakes when 
they touch its bark. 

Jason's Argo was built largely of beech timber; Bac- 
chus drank his wine from beechen bowls, and, according 
to Lucian, the oracles of Jupiter at Dodona were de- 
livered through the medium of the sacred beeches and 

The herbalists held that the hard beech wood, if 
brought into the house, caused hard travail in child- 
birth and miserable deaths. The leaves, however, are 
cool, binding, and were applied to blisters or chewed 
for chapped lips and painful gums. The water found in 
the hollow places of decaying beeches will cure scurf, 
scab, and running tetters. The Catawba Indians make 
a beech tea from the bark to cure weak back. Mixed 
with lard the beech tea is used to relieve rheumatism. 

bees The ancient belief that bees originate in the 
dead bodies of cattle (B713) springs from the fact that 
the skeleton cage of the ribs provides a good natural 
framework for a wild beehive. "The swarm of bees and 
honey in the carcass of the lion” (Judges xiv, 8) is a case 
in point, of which Samson made the riddle, “Out of the 
eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth 
sweetness," which the men of the city could not guess 
without help. In a German folktale bees were created to 
provide wax for church candles; in a Breton story they 
sprang from the tears shed by Christ on the Cross. In 
Egyptian mythology they came from the tears of the 
sun god, Ra. In South American Caingang Indian 


myth they were given to man by their cidm^T" 
Kayurukre. cro ’ 

A bee was the symbol of the Hindu nods , d 
Krishna, and Vishnu, who were called Madhaie y 
nectar-born. The bow-string of Kama, the Indian 
love, was a string of bees. A bee was the symbol of i 
temis at Ephesus; and Melissa (bee) was a tide of n, 
priestesses of Demeter, Persephone, and the G ' 
Mother (perhaps Rhea). Bee stings have been re-ardd 
as medicinal through the ages. Sufferers from theunn 
tism, arthritis, and neuritis from early times used t 
visit beekeepers for treatment: two stings were given 
a first dose; later a few more per visit until the patient 
reported some relief. This belief is more widespread to- 
day than ever. An extract from bee stings, called bee 
venom, was on sale in Europe before World War II, and 
is now available in the United States (see L. F. Bed 
Bee Venom Therapy, New York, 1935). 

Almost everywhere in Europe and quite generally in 
rural sections of the United States, people still tell tht 
bees when somebody dies in the house. If this is not 
done they will either leave or die or stop matin" honti 
This is possibly a remnant of an old European belief 
that bees were messengers to the gods and notified them 
of mortal deaths. In Ireland not only are the bees told 
of a death in the family, but crepe is hung on the hiie. 
The Irish tell their secrets to the bees; any new project 
is also told them in the hopes the bees will prosper it. 
Bees won't thrive if they arc quarreled over. They must 
not be bought on a Friday. Some people say they must 
not be bought at all, but bartered for. This is especially 
true for the first swarm. 

It is bad luck to have a swarm of bees come to you o! 
themselves. Even to dream of a swarm lighting on a 
building portends misfortune. Mississippi Negroes say 
that to dream of bees in a swarm is a death omen; to 
dream of being stung means a friend will betray you. If 
you see them making honey in a dream, you arc in for 
some money. From ancient Greece to modem New En- 
gland a bee flying into the house means a stranger is 
coming. It is very lucky to have one fly in and then out; 
but if one dies in the house, that’s bad luck. If you hold 
a bee in your hand, it won’t sting you as long as you 
hold your breath. In New England and the Maritimcs 
it is said that bees lay by unusually large stores of honey- 
before a hard winter. 

The bee in folktale plays the role of God's spy (A33); 
there are helpful bees (B482), and bees as familiars 
(G225.1). There are marriages to bees (BG55.1), separable 
souls in bees (E715.3.1), reincarnations as bee (£616.1), 
and souls in the form of bee (E734.2). A bee identifies a 
lost princess by alighting on her (HI 62). 

“The old wisdom of the bees”— "the secret knowledge 
of the bees’’— “ask the wild bee for what the druids 
knew” are frequent phrases of Scottish Highland and 
island story (see Fiona Macleod, Winged Destiny, New 
York, 1910, p. 3S ff.) See; Lemminkainen. 

bees produced to rout enemies A motif found in the 
Koasati Indian Story of Crow and the Creek tale of 
Bcad-Spittcr and Throum-Away, in which two young 
boys collect a great quantity of bees, wasps, and hornets 
and turn them loose upon the warriors whom their 
father has mustered to punish the pair for their dis- 
obediences. The warriors are stung to death. 

The idea is far from being limited to North American 



Indian folktale. A similar motif (B524.2.1) in which 
helpful bees sting an approaching army occurs in both 
Jewish and Japanese legend. The Irish St. Gobnait (6th 
century) went out to save her district from being in- 
vaded by a neighboring chief with a small hive of bees 
in her hand. The bees swarmed upon the invaders and 
blinded their eyes. The idea of routing enemies with 
bees also occurs in Danish, English, and German tales. 

beetle Any insect of the order Coleoptera, having bit- 
ing mouth parts and hard horny anterior wings serving 
as covers for the membranous posterior pair when at 
rest. The Coleoptera are the true beetles, and there are 
250,000 known species in the world. Many insects re- 
sembling them are so designated, however: the cock- 
roach is often called a “black beetle," for instance. 

In general European and United States folk belief, 
beetles are both deaf and blind, and to kill one brings 
rain. It is lucky to turn one over on its feet that has 
fallen on its back. In the Palatinate it is said that this 
kind deed cures or prevents toothache. If a beetle flies 
through the house it is an omen of unexpected news. 
To hear the death-watch beetle (a small wood-boring 
beetle) in your house means a death in the family. 
United States southern Negroes say that when its tick- 
ing stops whoever is in sickbed will die. Southern Ne- 
groes also cure earache by taking the head off of a 
certain species of wood beetle and dropping into the 
ear the one drop of blood the insect exudes. Beetles are 
often included in Negro mojo hands for good luck. In 
Silesia it is believed that the first cockchafer of the sea- 
son, caught and sewed up in a little cloth bag, is effec- 
tive as an amulet against fever. 

In Ireland the darbhdaol is a species of long black 
beetle often called the devil’s coach horse. Some say 
that the devil in the form of darbhdaol eats the bodies 
of sinners, and the insect is therefore sometimes con- 
strued as the symbol of corruption. If you see one raise 
its tail it is putting a curse on you. If you accept money 
from the devil you will find a darbhdaol in your hand. 
Reapers sometimes enclose one in the handle of their 
tools to give them speed and skill in the work. The 
druib is a large chafer found in Irish bogs and dried 
pools; if a white or spotted cow happens to swallow one 
all her hair will fall off the white parts. The druib af- 
fects no other color. 

A huge Beetle is the creator of the world in Lengua 
(South American Chaco Indian) mythology. From the 
grains of earth he had left over. Beetle then created 
man and woman. At first they were joined together, but 
Beetle separated them, as they are now. Among the 
modem Toba Indians black beetles are always pa’yak, 
i.e. supernatural spirits. 

The Sia Indians of North America hat e a myth in 
which Utset, Mother of Indians, gave to Beetle (Ishits) 
a sack of stars to carry from the underworld to the world 
above. He made the journey with success, but had be- 
come so tired with his load that he bit a tiny hole in 
the sack to see what was in it. The stars flew out and 
scattered across the sky. When Utset came up with 
Beetle she made him blind forever for his disobedience. 
This is why the Sia say that Beetle has no eyes. There 
were a feu- stars left in the bag and these Utset arranged 
herself: seven in one place (for the Great Bear), three 
bright ones in a row (in Orion's belt), and seven others 
in a group (the Pleiades). 

In Zuni Indian mythology it is told that when Coyote 
(culture hero) marked off certain strips of restricted 
land between the clans and villages, he buried in each 
strip a beetle and a poisonous spider, so that whoever 
disobeyed and tried to cultivate for himself the re- 
stricted land would go blind, like beetle, or die of 
poison. If a Zuni Indian is struck by lightning he is 
given a drink of rainwater from that very storm con- 
taining black beetle and suet. If he fails to drink it he 
will “dry up.” Or he is given black beetle in a piece of 
bread. Among the Hopi Indians Beetle is a helpful war 
spirit; he covers up tracks. Beetles are also brewed in 
the emetic drink of the Snake war society. See cock- 

Befana or St. Befana, la Strega, or la Vecchia An ugly 
but good-natured old hag who leaves presents in the 
stockings of children on the eve of the Epiphany, or 
Twelfth Night, in parts of Italy and Sicily. In Rome and 
many other Italian cities and towns young and old 
assemble and make a great noise in her honor with 
trumpets, tambourines, drums, and tin horns. In other 
places singers and musicians serenade the houses and 
rag-doll effigies of Befana are displayed in the win- 

In Christian legend, when the three kings passed on 
their way to adore the Christ Child, they invited a cer- 
tain old woman to accompany them, but she said she 
was too busy cleaning her house. Later, she attempted 
to follow, but became lost and never saw the Holy Child. 
Every year she comes looking for him. She visits the 
children while they sleep and fills their stockings, giving 
to the good candy and sweetmeats; stones and charcoal 
are left for the naughty ones. 

The name Befana is said to be a corruption of 
Epiphany, although parts of the legend date from pre- 
Christian times. In addition to obvious Santa Claus and 
Ahasuerus analogies, the legend contains also some ele- 
ments of the practice of expelling demons with noise. 
Compare Berchta; Saint Nicholas. 

Befind In Celtic folklore and mythology, one of the 
three fairies who are present at the birth of every child, 
who predict its future and endow it with good or doubt- 
ful gifts: literally, white woman. They are cognate with 
the Roman Parcte, and in Brittany, as in ancient Rome, 
a table was spread for them in the birth-room. They are 
definitely Celtic survivals, however, survivals of ancient 
Celtic goddess triads, earth mothers or goddesses asso- 
ciated with fertility and love. 

In Old Irish mythology, Befind was specifically a 
woman of the side, married to a mortal, Idath, and 
mother of Fraech. She was sister to B6ann, queen of the 
side of all Ireland. 

Beg The undersea afterworld of Papuan (New 
Guinea) mythology: a temporary abode for the soul on 
its way to the blissful final place named Boigu. 

Bego Tanutanu Bego the Maker, the younger of two 
brothers of Mono-Alu (Melanesian) mythology, of whom 
the older is lazy. Bego shaped the landscape, made the 
food plants, and otherwise contributed to the life and 
culture of the Mono-Alu islanders. His wife impounded 
the sea, but when her grandsons spied on her, she re- 
leased it, causing a flood. (See G. C. Wheel er, Mono-A (p 
folklore , London, 1926.) [kl) 


begyina ba (plural begyina mma) Literally, in Ashanti, 
a come-and-stay child: the diild (born to parents all of 
whose former children have died) for whose survival 
special magical precautions are observed. The loss of all 
previous children is believed by the Ashantis to be 
caused by evil spirits, who must now either be out- 
witted or overcome if the next child is to live. Some- 
times the begyina ba is given a deceptive name-suffix, 
usually a slave designation, to lead malicious spirits into 
believing that this one is not particularly desirable; or 
sometimes it is even tattooed with the markings of a 
slave class, for the same reason. Frequently, however, 
the begyina ba is dedicated to some specific god who is 
then obliged to protect it. Its hair is not cut short like 
other children’s, but allowed to grow long, and all kinds 
of protective amulets, bells, etc., are fastened into it. 
Compare abiku; name tabu. 

beheading bargain A motif (M221) in which a giant 
or other supernatural challenger bargains to allow 
himself to be beheaded tonight providing he be allowed 
to behead his opponent tomorrow night (or one year 
from tonight). Many a hero agrees to the bargain, be- 
heads the challenger (who immediately resumes his 
head), and shirks presenting himself for decapitation at 
the appointed time. Only the bravest, truest, most 
honorable of heroes keep faith, the result always being, 
of course, that the challenger spares him because of his 
fearless honor. It usually follows also that the challenger 
has been in disguise, and reveals his true identity to 
proclaim the virtue of the hero. Probably the two most 
famous beheading bargains recorded are the one be- 
tween Cuchulain and the bachlach and that between 
Gawain and the Green Knight, the former now consid- 
ered the source of the latter. See Bwciuu's Feast. 

behemoth A huge animal described in Job xl, 15, usu- 
ally thought to be the hippopotamus but by some be- 
lieved to be the elephant: the plural of behemah, beast. 
According to early and medieval Jewish tradition, as 
the leviathan was king of the fishes and the ziz the 
greatest of the birds, so behemoth was the king of the 
animals. Two of the monsters were created (or only one, 
a male); however, since a thousand mountains' produce 
made but one day’s food for behemoth (a gloss on Ps. 1, 
10), and since all the waters of Jordan served the mon- 
ster for only one swallow, he was provided with no sex- 
ual desire lest he and his offspring devour the world; 
he was given a barren tract of land to live in. Behemoth 
and leviathan will be hunted by, or their fight will 
serve as a spectacle for, the blessed after the Messiah 
comes and their flesh will serve as a feast for the fltosen 
at the great banquet. In Moslem tradition, Behemoth 
is a great fish upon which stood the bull supporting the 
ruby underlying the world. Compare Hadhayosh. 

beisad In Cambodian belief, the souls of those who 

n a n e ; J* “ tent J deMh - The M** return from the 

hells (Buddhist) to demand food from the living They 
take revenge on those who refuse to appease them by 
afflicting them with all kinds of evils. Food is left among 
the brushwood for them. Compare pray. 

Bel The Babylonian form of the title baal, lord or 
master; at first generally applicable to the gods of places 

thedde ? r P , e , llat! ° n ° E ‘ he P rinci P al gods, and finally 
tl c title, or the name, of the chief god-Enlil or Mar- 

duk or Ashur. The Bel of the Ol7rT~~ 
Marduk. Bel, the god of the earth, was a ™ »» 

supreme triad with Anu and Ea As Be! hT* 1 c! l!:: 
the flood, wishing to destroy the human I .S 1 "* 
is not mentioned in the Delude stnrv" tv 
BpI is Bplit flip li/lt* n ? . . *** ^ COTHort t f 

Bel is Bent, the lady, a general tia^fe 

that ci 

bela kampong An annual ceremony of the 
Endau, performed to keep the local spiri,«h, ’ cf 
to gain their aid in averting misfortune h ? p - 

strangers may enter rt nor may the vill agcrs w ' ^ 
made a loud noise, shoot animals, or pick mconun^' 

Bele A Trinidad Negro social dance and its as, 

rues for the dead, wherein the ancestors are 
assure that they will exercise a benevolent I 'm 
over their descendants. These dances have b K ‘ 1*5 
clandestinely ,n modern times because of 
clerical disapproval, and only upon the insistent i f 
ancestors, who manifest their desires in dream, £ 
heir displeasure with the failure to hold this ccrL^ 
by harassing the family with ill health, or bad h 
or loss of emploment. [mjh] 

, , Thc ^ I 1 eni ^ Kai f n ( Mala )’ Peninsula) abode of 
the dead, an island to the northwest of the Malw 
ninsula. A soul leaves the body through the big 
journeys to the sea. After seven days, during which Z 
the soul can rev, sit its old home, it is escorted (if Jj 
by Mampes across Balan Bacham, the switchba j 
bridge which spans the sea. When the soul arrises b 
Belet it secs the Mapik tree where it meets the souls 
of those who have died previously. These souls break 
the limbs of the newcomer and turn his pupils inwards, 
making htm a kemoit or real ghost, after which he an 
wear the flowers of the Mapik tree and pluck its fnrt. 
The Mapik tree bears all things desirable such as food. 
At its base are breasts from which the ghosts of little 
children get their milk. 

The wicked are doomed to watch from another place 
the good enjoying the life in Belet. According to I. 
Evans the Menik Kaien and Kintak Bong are the only 
groups among the Semang who have any conception ot 
an existence after death. Compare Pulau Bah. 

Belial or Beliar One of the synonyms for Satan or one 
of the minor devils; principally, the Antichrist; ns used 
in the Old Testament, a modifying genitive signifying 
worthlessness or recklessness, e.g. ’’sons of Belial" as in 
the story of the Benjamite war (Judg. xix). Hence, the 
underworld (Sheol) and the personification of wicked- 
ness. Belial may perhaps be a modification of the Bab- 
ylonian Belili, a deity connected with the underworld 
in the Ishtar-Tammuz story. 

Belit The feminine form of the Babylonian title Bel; 
hence, the lady, the mistress: an appellation of rank 
construed as the proper name of the consort of the chid 
god Bel (or Enlil, Marduk, or Ashur). Hence, Belit is 
identifiable with Ninlil. Belit was worshipped in Assyria 
both as the consort of Ashur and as the ancient goddess 
of Nippur. 

hell A hollow vessel, usually of metal, sounded by 
being struck by a clapper suspended within or by a 
separate stick or hammer, and serving among almost all 



^i,.^ for thousand? of years as amulet, fertility 
charm, summons to a god. prophetic voice, curatisc 
agent, or purely musical instrument. 

The practice of wearing Mis on the person is world- 
s. ide and originally had the same purpose everywhere— 
protection from evil spirits and from bodily harm. Bells 
of '•ohl were prescribed hv God for flic hem of the high 
priest's garment in Israel (Ex. xxviii, 35). The sound was 
to protect him as he catnc and event from the holy place 
against the demons that frequent the threshold of sanc- 
tuaries- Silreri.m shamans wear hells for incantations 
and prophecies, and South American Indians protect 
themselves in the same way. In medieval Europe, war- 
riors anil jotistcrs wore hells on their belts or hems in 
combat. In West Africa, mothers tic iron rings and hells 
on (he anUes of an ailing child or a child l>om after 
the death of several others to drisc oil the unfriendly 
spirits svho cause sickness and death. (Sec ntxvtNv n.v.) 
Ilic<c spirits arc believed to dislike both iron and the 
tinkling of hells and can he lured out of the child’s 
body with food while the amulets arc put on. Yaqui 
Beer Dancers of Mexico also svear belts hung with bells. 
As the original purpose began to be forgotten in Europe, 
liells appeared on the dress of fops and on fools' motley. 

Animal hells, though now largely thought of as utili- 
tarian devices for finding strayed animals, were also 
fust used to drive off harmful spirits. The most useful 
creatures of each region— goats, camels, elephants, don- 
keys, cows, horses, etc.— were guarded by neck hells or 
bell-strung trappings. 

As fertility charms bells have been significant for 
many agricultural peoples. In China, bells svere rang as 
a call for rain, the largest bell of the country serving for 
one occasion only— the emperor's prayer for rain. The 
decoration of the bell consisted of fertility symbols such 
as the sown field, nipples, and the number 9. identified 
with renewal. The Nilotic Bari people used bells to 
bring rain by filling the howl of the hell with water and 
sprinkling the earth with it. In Europe, Tyrolean larm- 
«s insured a good harvest by ringing hells while cir- 
cling their fields; and at Brunnen on Lake Lucerne, a 
Twelfth Night ceremony for ringing out witches also 
carried a potency for making a full fruit crop. Church 
bells were appealed to in some European countries at 
harvest time for the safe gathering of the crops. 

Ceremonial bells have rung for religious rites of 
widely varying beliefs. A large hell from the Assyrian 
period, nlxnit GOO B.C., hears the symbols of the gods 
Ea, Nrrgal, and Nimtrta. Chinese temple hells arc 
sounded Msveen verses of the Confucian hymn and arc 
equated in a complete cosmological system of harmony 
with autumn, with the west, with dampness, and with 
metal. (The Babylonians also correlated pitch ami sea- 
son.) Peruvian aborigines used bells and jingles in ad- 
dtcvdng their gods. In Egypt, the feast of Osiris opened 
with Ml-ringing. and in India, Java, etc., a hand hell 
decorated with Siva’s trident, Vishnu's eagle, and other 
trligious symbols was teed by Hindu priests during 
prayer. African Negro priest s. as well as Haitian vodun 
htmgnns, invoke gods and loa with hells and dancing. 
Hand laclls. considered effective for keeping away the 
evil ones, are beaten to accompany the Coptic chant. In 
the Mohammedan paradise, it is said, hells will hang 
on all the trees to make music for the blessed. 

Sime the 5th century hells have been associated with 

sacred rites in Christian churches, and have often l-een 
inscribed with religious lines. The passing bell called 
the faithful to pray for the departing soul and svarded 
of! evil spirits who might pounce on the soul; the ex- 
communication proceedings called for "hell. booh, and 
candle," the bell tolling as if the sinner were dead: the 
"pardon hell" of pre-Rcformation England rang before 
and after services; processions of the church u etc ac- 
companied by bell-ringing to scare ofl demons, etc. 
Saints Patrick, Galt, and hunstan arc all linked with 
special hells. 

Customs and legends surrounding Christian church 
bells are common to all Europe. Bells svere publicly 
baptised, named, and dedicated to a saint in many 
communities, with sponsors, baptismal dress, gifts, and 
sprinkling of holy svater. In Lithuania it svas the belief 
that bells would not sound until baptired, that tinhap- 
tired bells svould give trouble by falling from their 
steeples or other mischief. After baptism the hells 
would frighten ass-ay sorcerers, witches, and the Devil 
himself. The souls of the dead were supposed to rise to 
heaven on hell sounds. 

Certain bells were thought to ring of their oss'n ac- 
cord on occasions of gTcat import. An Aragonese legend 
tells of a bell in which one of Judn's thirty pieces of 
silver was cast, which sounded without human assistance 
before national calamities. The ballad of Sir Hugh of 
Lincoln embodies this belief, relating the unprompted 
tolling of the hells of Lincoln for his Tate. 

Bells which have sunk to the bottom of ponds or lakes 
or have been buried underground (of which every Euro- 
pean country traditionally has examples) also ring at 
solemn times, such as midnight on Christmas Eve. Such 
bells were generally engulfed as a punishment for some 
human impiety. One Dutch bell was sunk after being 
stolen by the Devil. 

Some of the self-ringing hells say actual words. Some 
gratefully sound the names of their donors. One in Den- 
marks tells of its mate, sunk in the Schlicmunde on its 
way to the hell toner. One rings out words of pity for a 
lad cruelly slain by the king. 

Apart from ringing on their own initiative and talk- 
ing. other activities and individual properties have been 
ascribed to hells. All church hells svere believed in 
medieval Europe to make a pilgrimage to Rome to keep 
Good Friday, and the townspeople stayed indoors so as 
not to sec tlicir (light. No bells rang until they bail re- 
turned to their steeples. If the local hell missed the 
excursion, bad luck, poor harvests, etc., might follow. 
Bells might grow indignant at insults or injuries ami 
take revenge. One bell of singularly sweet tone was 
ordered by the king to be removed from Sens to Paris. 
It refused to ring in its new site in spite of all efforts, 
hut on being returned at last to Sens, it burst into joy- 
ous sound in the cart that was hauling it. A Ml in 
Zwcibriickcn was about to he destroyed in IG77 by in- 
vaders when it sweated blood. 

Tor centuries all over Europe hells were rung to break 
the power of advancing thunderstorms, which were be- 
lieved to he the work of evil spirits of the air. English 
church records show the payment of fees to bell-ringers 
for services during tempests, and many Mis bear such 
inscriptions as "Fulgura frango, dissipo ventos," or 
"Lightning and thunder, I break asunder." The ssicked 
spirits were shamed by the bell-ringing and fled. Norse 


bells were also often marked with the bent cross, the 
hammer of Thor, the Thunderer. 

It was church bells and hymn-singing, according to 
legend, that frightened the mountain dwarfs, giants, 
and trolls away from Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. 
A ferryman of Holstein got a hatful of gold for ferrying 
a boatload of emigrating dwarfs across a river when 
they couldn’t endure the bells any longer. 

Church bells also overcame witches and were regu- 
larly used to drive them out in certain especially witch- 
troubled seasons. The practice was about the same in 
various parts of Europe— Germany, France, Switzerland, 
etc.— whether the occasion was May Day, Twelfth Night, 
St. Agatha’s Eve, or every Friday in March— all the 
people rang hells and beat pots and pans, the church 
bells rang, and fires or torches were lighted; with shout- 
ing and screaming the witches were routed. A similar 
custom also held on the coast of Guinea to expel ghosts 
and witches, and an equivalent ceremony took place 
when the Emperor Justin II sent ambassadors to the 
Turks. The shamans chased whatever powers of evil 
might be attending the meeting with bells and tam- 

As a curative agent, bells have served in many ways. 
In time of pestilence they cleared the air of corruption, 
and were prescribed for that purpose by an English doc- 
tor in 1625. St. Mura's bell, in Ireland, could cure any 
ailment if liquid were drunk from it. An American 
Negro belief holds that a child can be cured of stutter- 
ing by drinking from a bell. In England it was thought 
that childbirth could be eased by tying the bell rope to 
the woman's girdle. One particular bell could cure in- 
sanity by being placed over the head of the afflicted 

The prophetic implications of bell-ringing arc usually 
for ill-luck. The Grimm collection has a tale of a house- 
hold bell which rang to foretell a death in the family. 
American Negro stories connect bells with death or mis- 
fortune; even a ringing in the ear points to death from 
the direction of the noise. 

The use of bells for warnings or summons is more 
modern, generally, than these other purposes, though 
the Greeks used their hoda in this way in military 
groups; the Romans sounded the tintinnabulum for the 
hours of bathing and of business; and the curfew, sig- 
naling the hour for extinguishing fires and lights, was 
probably introduced into England by William the Con- 
queror. Bells have also rung for victory, to celebrate 
Christmas, to warn of the approach of a leper, etc. But 
for public announcements, heralds or criers were used 
earlier. Shop bells, now used to bring the proprietor 
out to his customers, originally guarded the entrance 
against threshold demons. 

Much lore centers around the casting of hells and 
the mixture of metals required for good tone. Blood 
was sometimes used, probably deriving from sacrificial 
customs. For casting the Great Bell of China, it is tradi- 
tional that the bell-maker’s daughter, who had heard of 
the efficiency of maidens’ blood in creating line bells, 
threw herself into the metal to save her father from 
failure with his important commission. There arc also 
many European stories of wicked bell-makers who stole 
the precious metal contributed for bells and substituted 
lead. They all met hard fates. 

Purely as musical instruments, bells have been 
used chiefly in the Orient, but English bell-ringers 
have developed a music of their own, change-ringing 
which consists of a progression through the tones of a 
set of bells. In the Javanese gamelan, the trompong, a 
set of metal bells arranged in scale in a frame, takes the 
leading melody. Military bands of the Chou dynasty in 
China used bells. Malayan and Indian musicians play 
on sets of resting bells (not suspended or swung in the 
hand, but set rim upwards on the floor) made of metal 
or porcelain and struck with a stick. This type of bell 
has also been used in China and Greece. 

Classes of bells and bell-like instruments differing 
from the definition given here are as follows: chimes 
sets of tuned bells; carillons, sets of bells mechanized 
with clock works, first made in Flanders in the I3th 
century; jingles, hollow metal balls containing loose 
beads, pebbles, etc., which are more like rattles. Gongs, 
which have a dead rim and sounding center, are struck 
plates, as distinguished from bells, with their sounding 
rim and dead center. 

The origin of bells is not known and even the com- 
parative age of various types is uncertain. Bells of shell, 
wood, etc., of certain primitive peoples may be imitative 
of the cast or shaped metal bells of other civilizations. 

Theresa C. Brakeley 

belladonna The deadly nightshade ( Atropa bella- 
donna), a Europcn poisonous plant with reddish, bell- 
shaped flowers and shining black berries. The plant, 
according to Plutarch, is the one which produced fatal 
effects upon the Roman soldiers during their retreat 
from the Parthians under Mark Antony. Belladonna is 
used in small doses to allay pain and spasm and is 
smeared on the eyes to dilate the pupils during medical 

The origin of its name, which is Italian for beautiful 
lady, is uncertain, but one explanation is its use as an 
eye beautificr, another that it was used by Leucota, the 
Italian, to poison beautiful women. 

Belle Hilcne A folk ballad of France telling the story 
of a dancing girl who was drowned. She was dancing 
on a bridge and taken by the water spirits. This ballad 
is of Scandinavian origin and has Icelandic, German, 
Lusatian, and Hungarian parallels. See ballad; French 


Belleroplion or Bcllcrophontcs In Greek legend, a 
Corinthian hero; son of Glaucus (or Poseidon) and 
Eurymcdc; grandson of Sisyphus; the master of Pegasus; 
the slayer of the Chimera: a local Corinthian demigod, 
perhaps originally identical with the Argive Perseus, 
perhaps not Greek in origin though adopted as early as 
the time of Homer. Belleroplion was first named Hip- 
ponous, but he slew either his brother or the Corinthian 
Ilellerus and was forced to flee to Tiryns. There he lived 
Tor a time at the court of Proctus, king of Argos. Antea 
(or Sthenobia), the queen, attempted to seduce him and, 
when he refused her, accused him of making advances 
himself. Proetus dispatched Bellerophon to lobates of 
Lycia, his father-in-law, with a tablet or letter contain- 
ing secret instructions that Bellerophon was to be 
killed. lobates, like Proctus, unwilling to slay a guest 
out of hand, sent Bellerophon against the Chimera. (See 
Chimera; Pegasus.) This failing and Bellerophon re- 
luming alive, the hero was sent on expeditions against 



the Solymoi and then the Amazons; Bcllerophon con- 
quered in both. After slaying the pick of Iobatcs’ war- 
riors who lay in ambush for him, Bcllerophon was 
accepted by Iobatcs as somewhat more than human, 
given the king's daughter (Philonoc, Anticlea, or Cas- 
sandra) for wife, and presented with a large part of the 
Lycian kingdom. Bcllerophon accomplished his revenge 
on Antea by taking her for a ride on Pegasus and pitch- 
ing her off the flying horse to her death. At last, how- 
ever, his pride led to his downfall, probably when he 
attempted to fly to the gods on Pegasus. Zeus sent a 
gadfly to sting the horse and Bcllerophon was thrown 
off to fall to earth, which left him blinded and crippled. 
The gods’ vengeance reached Bcllcrophon's children, 
Isandrus, Laodamia, and Hippolochus, all of whom suc- 
cumbed to an evil fate. Embittered by this turn of 
fortune, the hero wandered alone through the Alcian 
plain for the rest of his life, and came to an obscure 
death. A sanctuary of Bcllerophon stood in a q’press 
grove near Corinth. Compare letter of death; Poti- 

rrtAR’s WIFE. 

belling the cat A folktale motif (JG71.I) in which the 
mice take counsel together as to how they may get rid 
of the cat. A clever one among them points out that if 
a bell were tied to the cat's neck, they all would forever 
after be forewarned of her approach and whereabouts. 
A wonderful ideal But, as one grizzled and experienced 
old mouse adds, Who will put the bell on the cat? This 
is /Esop's fable (Jacobs #G7) in toto, one of the few 
known to be of true folk origin, and occurring in the 
folklore of various peoples as far apart as the Esto- 
nians, Finns, Italians, and southern United States Ne- 
groes. How can mice rid themselves of cats? is also one 
of the traditional questions asked of travelers on spe- 
cific quests to other worlds (H1292.10) and the answer is 
always, Tie a bell on its neck. Belling the cat has long 
since been synonymous with the proposal of some im- 
possible remedy, or synonymous with the predicament 
of one who hesitates to risk his own life for the salvation 
of many. 

Bellona (1) The Roman goddess of war; companion 
(either sister, wife, daughter, or nurse) of Mars. Bellona 
acted as Mars’ charioteer, preparing and driving his 
chariot, and appearing herself in battle with disheveled 
hair, a bloody whip in one hand and a torch in the 
other, to spur the warriors on. She is equated with 
the Sabine war goddess Ncrio. Her temple stood in the 
Campus Martins and there the senators received foreign 
ambassadors and Roman generals claiming victories. 
There too the fetialis declared tsar for the Roman 
people, throwing a spear over the pillar (colwnna 
bellica ) before the temple, the precinct being consid- 
ered foreign territory. Human sacrifices were offered 
only to her and to Mars. 

(2) An Asiatic goddess of war, the Phrygian Ma, per- 
haps identical with the Greek Enya of Pontus and 
Cappadocia, brought to Rome by Sulla to whom she 
appeared; often confused with the native Italic Bellona. 
Her priests, the Bellonarii, dressed completely in black, 
pierced their limbs and either drank the blood or 
sprinkled it on the assemblage. By confusion, this offer- 
ing Came to be made on March 24, the day of the original 
Bellona, and the day became known as the dies sanguinis. 
Her day originally was June 3. 

Belly and the Members One of zEsop’s fables (Jacobs 
#29). The Members of the Body once complained that 
they were tired of serving the Belly, who did no work. 
The Hands thenceforth refused to cany food to the 
Mouth; the Mouth refused to chew the food for the 
Belly; the Legs refused to carry the big fat Belly 
around. It was not long, however, before the Members 
began to weaken and fail without the sustaining nour- 
ishment the Belly provided. And they soon realized that 
all were mutually and essentially useful. This story be- 
longs to a group of folktales embodying the motif (J4G1) 
known as the senseless debate of the mutually useful. 
The belly and the members (J461.1) is the generic clas- 
sification for the various tales involving debate between 
various parts of the body, animal or human, found in 
Indian folktale, Jewish, Roman as well as Greek, and 
Italian popular tradition. There is an analogous Nige- 
rian Bantu story. 

belly dance A late development of the primitive ab- 
dominal dance, limited to movements of the rectus 
abdominis: known as danse dti ventre in North Africa. 

belomancy Divination by the use of arrows: an an- 
cient method used by the Babylonians, Scythians, Slavs, 
Germans, Arabs, etc. Arrows bearing inscriptions were 
shot, the distance covered by the arrow’ determining 
which inscription was to be read. (Cf. Ezck. xxi, 21). 
One form was like astragalomancy, with lettered arrow's. 
Another technique used three arrows, one marked yes, 
one no, and one blank. The Gold Coast ordeal with 
poisoned arrows is another type of belomancy. The cast- 
ing of arrows in groups so that certain markings ap- 
peared face upwards— notches for example, or colored 
bands— is believed to have developed in course of lime 
into divining slicks and thence into divining cards 
which were the forerunners of our playing cards. 

Beltane (Irish Ilcaltainc) The Celtic May Day (May 
I), and the great festival observed on that day: also, the 
word for the month of May. Beltane begins officially at 
moonrise on May Day Eve and marks the beginning of 
the third quarter or second half of the ancient Celtic 
year. It is believed to be a survival of an early pastoral 
festival accompanying the first turning of the herds out 
to wild pasture, all the ritual observances being intended 
to increase fertility (as also in the Midsummer, or St. 
John's Eve agricultural celebration). Witches and fairies 
arc said to be abroad in great numbers. Frazer suggests 
that the prevalence of witches and fairies on Beltane 
Eve points to a very early female fertility cult. It is bad 
to be out late on May Eve; it is worse luck to sleep out; 
and it is said in Ireland yet that whoever is foolhardy 
enough to join a fairy dance on Beltane Eve will not be 
set free till Beltane next year. Beltane is still observed 
in Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, Wales, Brittany, and 
the Isle of Man, with more or less varying survivals of 
the ancient practices. 

The Beltane rites were intended to increase fertility 
in the herds, fields, and homes. The one great ritual of 
the day was the building of the Beltane bonfire. It was 
kindled cither by a spark from flint, or by friction; in 
fact the Irish term icine eigin (fire from rubbing sticks), 
is sometimes synonymous with the Beltane fire. The 
people used to dance sunwise around it (see deiseal); 
the cattle were driven through it, or between two fires, 
to protect them from murrain and other ills; the 



nerable to fire and steel, they sweep their enemies 
before them. 

beryl A mineral family of gems including the sea- 
green aquamarine and emerald, here used to denote 
the aquamarine. Known since early times, it teas 
usually designated the birthstone of October or Scorpio. 
It is a defense against foes in battle and litigation, and 
is used to detect thieves. It quickens the intellect, cures 
laziness, yet leaves a man amiable but unconquerable. 
It promotes the love of married couples. Medicinally 
it is used extensively for diseases of the eyes and dis- 
orders of the throat, jaws, and head, and against spasms 
and convulsions. Kunz, in The Curious Lore of Precious 
Stones, mentions that engraved with a hoopoe holding 
a tarragon herb before it, it conferred power to invoke 
water spirits and to call up the mighty dead for ques- 
tioning. Engraved with a frog, it promoted friendship 
and reconciled enemies, and engraved with Poseidon 
it protected sailors. Some authorities on the Bible 
claim it was one of the stones of the High Priest's 
breastplate and one of the foundation stones of the 
New Jerusalem. It was sometimes used to make crystal 

Bes In Egyptian religion, a shaggy-haired dwarf god 
wearing a lion’s skin and having a tail: a foreign god 
probably imported from Punt or Nubia to the south 
and east of Egypt. Although an ancient god, the large- 
headed, short-legged figure did not attain his greatest 
popularity until the XXVI Dynasty (c. 650 B.C.) and 
after. The image of Bes was a talisman against evil, 
whether evil omen or witchcraft, and it appeared more 
often in the Egyptian home than that of any other god. 
Bes was a god of dual aspect: he was a sensual god, 
patron of dance, music, and joyfulness, protector of 
children and of women in childbirth; and he was also 
a warlike avenging god. The latter was perhaps his 
original character, but his quaint physical features 
gained him such popularity that he acquired the genial 
aspect that became the more common. 

Bessy, Bess, or Besom-Bet In northern England, the 
name of the female impersonator in the Fool Plough 
ceremonies and processions: a man dressed grotesquely 
as an old woman. The Bessy is a stock character also in 
pantomime, mummers’ parades, and sword dances, but 
is especially associated with the Fool Plough. 

bestiaries Western European handbooks of natural 
history with articles on numerous real or imagined 
animals moralistically interpreted. Although the earliest 
may have been put together about 200 B.C. they owe 
much to St. Ambrose’s (c. 310-397) Hexameron and St. 
Isidore’s (c. 560-636) Etymology. In the Middle Ages 
and later, bestiaries were enormously popular. Copies 
have been preserved in the Armenian, Syriac, and 
Ethiopian languages as well as in the languages of 
western Europe. They have influenced ecclesiastical art 
and folk speech and have been influenced by them. 
[ RI, J] 

betel chewing A widespread and ancient custom of 
eastern Asia, the East Indies, and Melanesia, of chew- 
ing the seed of the areca palm (popularly called the 
betel nut), scrapped in leaves of the vine Piper betle 
together with a bit of lime and other flavoring ingredi- 
ents: the “chew” is called in modern India pan-supari. 

So prevalent is the habit that it, and the materials 
chewed, form part of many important ceremonies of 
the region. For example, throughout the area, betel 
nuts or leaves are used in puberty ceremonies, mar- 
riage ceremonies, and death ceremonies, in courtship 
bride bargains, and birth divination, etc. There arc 
more or less rigid tabus connected with the nuts and 
leaves, their growth, sale, and use. The equipment used 
by the betel chewcrs (areca-nut cutters, lime boxes and 
spatulas, betel bags, spittoons, etc.) is often highly 
elaborated with native art work. Habitual betel chew- 
ing makes the teeth black and eventually rots them, 
and it stains the saliva red. The Shans say that beasts 
have white teeth, seemingly differentiating beasts from 
betel chewers. For a comprehensive survey of the litera- 
ture and customs of the area connected with betel chew- 
ing, see Penzer’s “The Romance of Betel Chewing” in 
Tawney’s The Ocean of Story, vol. VIII, pp. 237-319. 

betony A European herb (genus Stachys, formerly 
Belonica.) of the mint family. According to Pliny betony 
wa. an amulet for houses (xxv, 46) and so antipathetic 
to snakes that they lash themselves to death when sur- 
rounded by it (xxv, 55). Antonius Musa, physician to 
Augustus Ctesar, wrote a book on the virtues of betony 
as a preserver of the liver and protector from epidemic 
diseases and witchcraft. 

To the herbalists the betony was an herb of Jupiter, 
under the sign Aries, which helped jaundice, palsy, 
gout, and convulsions. Taken in wine it killed worms; 
mixed with honey it aided childbirth. Dry and hot, it 
was used for infirmities of the head and eyes, the breast 
and lungs. 

bezoar A concretion, often of lime and magnesium 
phosphate, formed around foreign substances in the 
stomach, liver, or intestines of ruminants; occasionally, 
similar stones found in other parts of the bodies cf 
hedgehogs, porcupines, monkeys, and human beings. It 
was considered a gem by the ancients of both the Old 
and New World. Bezoars were first mentioned as a 
medicine by the Arabs and Persians, and it was not 
until the end of the 12th century’ that they were in- 
troduced into Europe, where they soon gained high 
repute. They are universally considered an antidote for 
poison, whether used internally, placed on the wound, 
or merely worn as an amulet. The Chinese wear them 
set in rings which they suck whenever they believe they 
have been subjected to poison. The Sioux Indian tribes 
believe that blowing pondered bezoar into the eyes 
strengthens the sight and the brain. Used with a laxa- 
tive the bezoar is good for chronic and painful diseases. 
The Hindus and Persians use it in this manner as a 
periodic tonic. In Germany and Bohemia it is used 
internally for toothache. Unlike many medieval reme- 
dies, it evidently had some effect, as it caused profuse 
perspiration, and care had to be exercised in admin- 
istering it or it would blacken the teeth. Stones from 
different animals found particular favor with various 
authorities, but those from the porcupine, monkey, and 
man are generally considered best. Those of the New 
World, although often rough on the outside and of 
drab color, are equally effective, as is a mineral stone 
of similar composition found in Sicily. By the middle 
of tile 18th century’ it had become so popular that 
medicinal bezoar sold for fifty times the price of 



emerald and a piece the size of a pigeon egg sold for 
jl o 0 O. The Mongolians claim that it trill produce rain, 

jjjgs- jn the New World, bezoar stones, particularly 
those found in deer, were believed to possess great 
mamcal powers to aid hunters, sorcerers, and medicine 
men. The medicinal properties believed by the Span- 
iards to he inherent in these stones made them a 
valued object of search. Some of the New World stones 
were believed to be superior to those of the Old World. 
Because of this intense interest, and the resulting monc- 
tarv exchange value of the stones to Indian finders, this 
Old World belief seems to have become incorporated 
into the folklore of nearly all Middle American Indian 
tribes, [gmf] 

bhagat Priests, medicine men. and exorcists of India, 

Bhagimad-GUd Literally, the song of the Divine One: 
a dialog inserted in the sixth book of the Hindu epic, 
the Mahabhiirala, in which Krishna, as an incarnation 
of Narayana Vishnu, expounds his philosophical 
doctrines to Arjttna and reveals himself as the one and 
only God. One of the most loved and used of Hindu 
scriptures, the poem is believed to date from the 2nd 
or 3rd century A.D. It is divided into three sections 
each containing six chapters. During the war between 
the Kattravas and the Pandavas, Krishna agreed to act 
as charioteer for Arjuna, leader of the Pandava princes. 
The latter, disliking the coming slaughter o( friends 
and relatives, asked Krishna for guidance. Tins beauti- 
ful and lofty dialog followed, in which the doctrine of 
bliakti (faith) and Kharma yoga (action), and the duties 
of caste arc exalted above all other obligations. 

Bhairava In Hindu mythology and religion, any one 
of the eight (or twelve) fearful forms of Siva: worshipped 
especially by outcastc groups of India. In this fearful 
aspect Siva often rides upon a dog. In his modern char- 
acter, Bhairava has been identified with the local village 
deity Bhairon and the characteristics of the two have 
been merged. Bhairava is worshipped in the agricul- 
tural districts of northern and central India as a black 
dog, a snake-girded drummer, or a red stone. 

Bhairon In Indian belief, a local village god, per- 
sonification of the field-spirit, whose identification with 
Bhairava has given him the attributes or Siva. In 
Benares he serves as the guardian of the temples of 
Siva. In Bombay he is represented in a terrifying aspect 
as Kala Bhairava or Bhairoba armed with a sword or 
club and carry ing a bowl of blood. See gram a-dhvata. 

bhangas In Hindu dance, the 1 Kinds or deviations of 
the body from the plumb line: abhanga (slightly bent), 
samabhanga (equally bent) or in equilibrium, atibhanga 
(greatly bent), and tribhanga (thrice bent), [ci-k] 

Bhima or Bhitna-sena In tile Mahabharata, second of 
the five Pandava princes; son of the wind god Vayu. 
Bhima was burly, prodigiously strong, courageous, 
coarse, and brutal. His appetite was such that he ate 
half the food of the family. During the first exile of 
the brothers, Bhima subdued the asuras and they 
promised to cease molesting mankind. In the great 
battle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas he 
engaged in combat with Duryodhana. When Bhima 
was losing, he struck an unfair blow, smashing Duryod- 

hana s thigh. Balarama was so incensed by the foul 
attack that he declared Bhima henceforth should be 
called Jihma-yodhin, the unfair fighter. 

Bhima is a nationally worshipped hero who may 
originally have been a Kfikshasa. Like Arjuna, Sita, 
and many other epic heroes and heroines, he has the 
marks of an originally divine nature. He is now the 
chief rain god of the Central Provinces. The Gonds 
celebrate a festival in his honor close to the time of 
the monsoon. 

Bhtslima Literally, the terrible: in Hindu mythology, 
the son of King Sfintanu by Ganga. When his father 
wished to marry the young and beautiful Satyavatl, 
her parents objected because Bhishma was heir to the 
throne and her sons could not inherit the kingdom. 
Bhishma agreed never to accept the throne nor to 
marry and Satyavall's parents then agreed to the mar- 
riage. Her sons by Santanu, however, died without chil- 
dicn and the children of her son, Pandit and Dhri- 
tarashtra, born before her marriage to the king, 
wcic hi ought up by Bhishma who acted as regent of 
Haslinapura for them and directed the training of 
their children, the Kauravas and Pandavas. In the 
battle between the two groups he sided with the Kaura- 
vas and was mortally wounded. His body was so covered 
with the arrows shot by Arjuna that they held him up 
when lie fell from his chariot. He is the model for 
modern ascetics who lie on beds studded with nails. 
He is also revered in India for his filial devotion and 
a festival is held in his honor during Karttik (Novcm- 

Bhrigu In Vcdic mythology, one of the rishis or seers: 
the founder of the race of bhrigus and bhargavas. 
Bhrigu was generated from the heart or Biahtna or 
from the seed of l’rajfipatt which had been cast into 
the fire by the gods. He was, according to the Aitareya 
Brdhmana and the Mahiibhdrala, adopted by Varuija. 
According to the Puranas, the rishis were undecided 
about which god to worship, so they sent Bhrigu to 
test the characters of the gods. Bhrigu found Siva so 
much engrossed in his wife and Brahma in himself that 
neither would receive the seer. Vishnu was asleep, so 
the sage angrily kicked him. Vishnu, awakening, stroked 
the sage’s foot and expressed the honor he felt at this 
method of arousing him. Bhrigu reported Vishnu the 
most worthy of worship. See Agni; Ciiyavana. 

Bhumiya or Khetrpal (feminine Bhilmiyd Rani) In 
Northern Indian belief, a local earth god or goddess. 
The god is worshipped when a marriage takes place, 
when a child is born, or during the harvest. He some- 
times changes sex, becoming identified with the earth 
mother and, like her, has a malignant aspect, bringing 
sickness to those w ho arc disrespectful. He is worshipped 
as a snake by the Dangls of the United Provinces. When 
the Jats establish a new village the first man to die in 
the community is buried in a special mound, a shrine 
named for him is erected, and he is deified under his 
name as the local earth god or Bhumiya. Local 
Bhumiyas arc gradually being absorbed into both the 
Vaishnava and saiva systems. 

bhiit or bhuta In Hindu belief, the general name for 
a malignant ghost of the dead; the spirit of a man who 
has died by accident, suicide, or capital punishment. To 


avoid them people lie on the ground, since bliiits never 
rest on the earth. They have no shadow, speak Math a 
nasal twang, and are afraid of burning turmeric, [mws] 

bia Songs sung by the Australian Buin people as 
laments for the dead. The words are the mourning 
exclamations and cries of relatives at the cremation. 

bibliomane)' Divination by means of books, or by use 
of the Bible. This is generally a method in which any 
book composed of verses may be used as an oracle. In 
the Middle Ages, the sEncitl was used in the sortes 
Vcrgilianir ; throughout Europe, the Bible, often opened 
with a golden needle, was employed; and in Moslem 
countries, the Koran. In essence, the method takes force 
from the sacred nature of the book employed, and it is 
allied to sortilegium in its acceptance of the chance 
factor. A Western European variant was to weigh a 
suspected person against the Great Bible; a guilty per- 
son -weighed more than the Book. 

biersal In German folklore (Saxony), a kobold who 
lives down in the cellar and will clean all the jugs and 
bottles as long as he receives his own jug of beer daily 
for his trouble. 

Bifrost or Asbru In Teutonic mythology, the rainbow 
bridge made of fire, air, and water for the gods' use, 
arching from the world-tree, Yggdrasil, on earth, Mid- 
gard, to Asgard. It was forbidden to Thor because of 
his heavy tread. It will be destroyed at Ragnarok by 
the weight of the giant Surtr and his sons. 

Big House ceremony A twelve-night ceremony of the 
Delaware Indians held, at least in modern times, in a 
rectangular structure known as the Big House. It is 
held to propitiate the Master of Life (supreme deity) 
and to ensure for the tribe good health, well-being, and 
the blessings of the supernatural. Esoteric songs obtained 
in visions arc sung by their owners during the several 
nights of the ceremony; speedics and prayers are made 
by ceremonial leaders, and feasting concludes the rites. 
The interior center and side posts supporting the Big 
House have carved wooden faces on them. For a de- 
tailed account of the construction of the Big House and 
the ceremony held therein, see F. G. Speck, "A Study 
of the Delaware Big House Ceremony" ( Publications 
of the Pennsylvania Historical Commission, Vol. II, 
pp. 5-192, 1931). [twv] 

Big Owl A destructive, cannibalistic monster, usually 
having the form of a large owl, in Apache Indian my- 
thology. The White Mountain Apache picture Big Owl 
as the evil, blundering son of Sun, who killed all the 
people and was in turn killed by his brother, the culture 
hero. Among the Mescalero and Chiricahua Apache he 
is a wicked giant; in Lipan mythology Big Owl induces 
the culture hero to marry his daughter, so that he can 
kill him; in Jicarilla Apache tales Big Owl transfixes 
his victims with his glance, carries them home in a 
basket, and eats them, [ewv] 

Big-Raven The creator in Koryak mythology: Quikin- 

Big Sea Day An old coastal celebration of New Jersey, 
formerly celebrated every year on the second Saturday 
in August. People came to the shore in wagons and bug- 
gies prepared to spend the day— whole families out of 
the woods and pines of southern Jersey. Everyone went 


in bathing in the sea, wearing whatever they happened 
to have on for the day, and dried in the sun. It ,‘ ns alsci 
called Farmers’ Wash Day, with the tongue-in-cheek 
implication that New Jersey farmers bathed only once 
a year. Seagirt was honored with the special celebration 
of Little Sea Day, the third Saturday in August. This 
celebration was for those -who had to stay home the 
week before to do the chores. Both celebrations have 
vanished with the "commercial invasion” of the Jersey 
const rcsorls. ' 

Bile In Old Irish mythology, one of the Milesians, a 
king of Spain. His name is listed with the 41 Spanish 
chiefs who accompanied the sons of Mil to Ireland to 
avenge the death of Ith. Bile’s name is listed also with 
those who were drowned in the druid storm sent by 
the Tuatlia De Danann to prevent their landing. 

Bile as a king of Spain is interpreted by some scholars 
as a god of darkness and death, Spain being an overseas 
Otherworld (specifically, a land of the dead). Recent 
students, however, prefer to interpret both Bile and 
Spain more literally. Reinach assumes both a racial and 
commercial relationship between Ireland and Spain, 
even in earliest times, either by sea or via Gaul. In fact, 
botanists and zoologists alike can advance evidence that 
there was once an unbroken European coastline from 
Ireland to Spain. Old geographers and chartists assumed 
the two countries were much closer than they are; and 
that Ith glimpsed Ireland from his father’s tower in 
Spain bears testimony to this concept. 

bili (singular bile) The sacred trees of the ancient 
Celts; early believed to be the habitation of gods or 
elemental spirits, later associated with kings and belief 
in the sanctity or godhood of kings. The king's scepter 
was made from a branch of his own tree, and a branch 
of his tree was symbolic of the king. It was sacrilege to 
pluck or fell the king’s tree. Evidently the life token or 
separable soul idea was here involved. In later Celtic 
romance one often reads of some hero, giant, knight, 
etc., defending a certain tree from having fruit or a 
bough taken from it or from being felled. In Ireland 
today any sacred or historical tree is called a bile, espe- 
cially one within a fort or growing beside a holy well. 
Any unusually big or very aged tree, or one oddly 
shaped is a bile and regarded as sacred. People will pray 
near it, and sometimes even still make offerings to it. 

Biliku, Bilik, or Pnluga A prominent deity of the 
Andaman Islands, associated with monsoons, usually the 
northeast, while Tarai (another deity who may be wife 
or brother) is associated with the southwest. Both are 
associated with weather in general and natural phe- 
nomena. The term biliku among the northern Anda- 
mese means "spider.” Lowie ( Primitive Religion, p. 129 
ff.) discusses data collected by Man and Radcliffe-Brown, 
and denies that evidence points, as Father Schmidt be- 
lieves, to Biliku as being a "High God.” [kl] 

Billy Blin A semisupernatural being, a sort of house- 
hold familiar of English and Scottish popular ballad: 
also known as Billy Blind, Belly Blin, and Blind Bar- 
low. See rAiRY. 

Billy Boy A question-and-answer song detailing the 
housewifely merits of a possible bride, known in many 
variants all over Great Britain and widely popular in 
America. There are many differing versions, which 



vcre probably introduced separately by colonists from 
ssrious sections. 

bilifis or pilwiz In medieval Teutonic literature, an sotiMikc being with a sickle on his big toe who 
devastated fields, tensed men. and tangled their hair. He 
^'especially actitc on Walpurgis Night. He was be- 
lictesl to live in trees; and offerings were sometimes left 
for him to protect children from disease. 

bina The name given in the Guianas to the plants 
used bv the Indians as hunting and fishing talismans. Indians cultivate them near their huts to have a 
irady store of them. The binas generally bear some re- 
semblance to a distinctive feature of the animal species 
on which they arc supposed to have an influence. Thus, 
for instance, the armadillo bina typifies the shape of the 
small projecting ears of this animal, [am] 

Ptimorie One of the variants of The Twa Sisters 
(Child if 10). named from its refrain. This ballad em- 
bodies tiic motif of the singing bone: the young girl 
who was drowned by a jealous older sister tells of her 
murder through the harp (or occasionally fiddle) made 
from her lioiics. Some of the variants of Binnorie go into 
lengthy detail about exactly which parts of her anat- 
oms were used for the parts of the magical instrument 
which sang her story. The story is repeated half across 
the world in talcs or ballads and may be of Danish or 
Norwegian origin. It is also known as The Berkshire 
Tragedy, The Milldams of Binnorie, Bow Down, etc. 
and is one of the few songs found in America which pre- 
icrses this motif. 

birch Any tree or shrub of the genus Bcttila with 
hatd, close-grained wood and outer bark separable in 
thin lasers, common in northern Europe and North 
America. The birch is widely used in folk medicine and 
is regarded as a safeguard against wounds, gout, barren- 
ness, caterpillars, the evil eye, and lightning. The Ca- 
tawba Indians boil the buds of the yellow birch to a 
ssnip, add sulfur, and make a salve for ringworm or 
sores. In Newfoundland the inside bark of a birch is 
applied with cod oil to cure frostbite. Culpeper recom- 
mended the juice or a distillation of the leaves to break 
kidney stones and to wash sore mouths. 

The Roman fasces with which the lictors cleared the 
way for the magistrates were made of birch. The books 
of Xumn I’ompilius, according to Pliny, svcrc written on 
birch bark. In Scandinavian mythology the tree teas 
consecrated to Thor and symbolized the return of 
spring. The birch is especially esteemed by the Russians 
for whom it is the source of light (torches). It stifles 
cries (oil of bitch is used to lubricate cart svlicels), it 
cleanses (in the Russian steam baths birch branches arc 
used to scourge the body), and it cures, for its sap is 
u<ed as a cordial in eases of consumption. 

I'irch branches were used generally in Europe for 
lieating the hounds, and for beating evil spirits out of 
lunatics. Ilirdt is especially efficacious against evil spirits 
and for that reason is used in the English country 
besom brooms" used for getting rid of witches. The 
letter 11, beth (meaning birch), begins the ancient Irish 
Tree Alphabet and thus begins the year. In the Scottish 
mllad The 11 'ife of Usher’s Weil (Child iz 79) the dead 
'■'nc return to their mother in the winter time with hats 
birch. These were taken from the tree beside the 

gates of Paradise: a sign (as suggested by Robert Grates 
in The II kite Goddess) to the living that these ghosts 
will not haunt the world but wear the birch in token 
that they will return to their heavenly abode. 

The birch is the personification of Estonia to that 
country's people. The Swedes believe the dwarf birch 
was once a full-sized tree, but when a rod of it was used 
to scourge Christ, the tree was doomed to hide its 
stunted head. In Finland the origin of the birch is at- 
tributed to a maiden’s tear. In Newfoundland it is un- 
lucky to make birch brooms in May, for they will 
sweep the family away. The Canadian Dakota burn 
small pieces of birch bark to keep the Thunders away. 
When the Thunders see this, they are restrained in 
their violence. 

a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush A familiar 
proverb, well known, in various wordings, through- 
out Europe, common in folktale and literature. John 
Heywood's version, "Better one byrde in hand than ten 
in the wood,” is almost as frequently heard. Better a 
fowl in the hand nor two flying (Scottish): One bird in 
the net is better than a hundred flying (Hebrew): Better 
one ‘I have' than two ‘I shall haves’ (French): A sparrow 
in the hand is better than a pheasant that flieth by 
(German): Better one ‘take this’ than two ‘will gives’ 
(Spanish) are all common property. "He is a fool who 
lets slip a bird in the hand for a bird in the bush," said 
Plutarch in Of Garrulity (1st century A.D.). The most 
common wording, "A bird in the hand is worth two in 
the bush,” quoted and used so widely (John Bunyan. 
Cervantes, others) can be traced back to one of the 
Idylls of Theocritus (3rd century B.C.) who thus ex- 
pressed the quintessence of zEsop’s fables of The Hawk 
and the Nightingale and The Angler and the Little Fish 
(6th century B.C.). In one the angler wisely keeps the 
little fish already caught rather than throw him back 
in the uncertain hope or catching a bigger fish later. In 
the other the hungry hawk refuses to release the little 
nightingale, on the grounds that the little bird he has 
is worth more to his empty belly than a big bird not 
yet caught. The bird in the hand occurs also in folktale 
motif, appearing variously as the bird in the hand, the 
little fish on the hook, and the sleeping hare which the 
lion foregoes to follow a shepherd (J321.1; J321.2: 

bird languages The languages spoken by birds among 
themselves: prominent in folktale as a medium of warn- 
ing, advice, prophecy, or aid to those human beings 
endowed with the gift of understanding them. The gift 
is variously acquired: either as a reward for befriending 
some animal or bird, as the gift of a god, or by eating 
some magical herb. Occasionally the hero is born with 
the ability to understand the languages of birds, but 
often it comes suddenly upon one who has eaten of a 
snake. In Icelandic belief one could acquire the under- 
standing of bird languages by carrying a hawk’s tongue 
under the tongue. Usually overhearing the conversation 
of a bird with its mate or friends gives the hero the in- 
formation needed for his successful outcome in the 
slow. The bird languages motif (R215.I) is common in 
Celtic and in European folktale from Iceland to .Arabia, 
and is equally frequent in Slavic. Hindu, and Hebrew 
story. Familiar and typical instances of its use occur in 
Grimm's stories The White Snake (ir 17), The Three 



Languages (#33), and Faithful Joint (#6). See animal 
languages; MELAMPUS. 

bird-man The most familiar and least complicated of 
these composite beings are the medieval angels and 
demons, the fairies, and the Greek Keres (represented as 
tiny human figures with butterfly wings). Many repre- 
sentations of Egyptian gods embody combinations of 
human and bird anatomy, for the gods were first birds 
and animals and only gradually evolved into men. Per- 
haps the most complicated and fearsome of these crea- 
tures is the Gorgon, which had serpent hair, the hideous 
face of a woman, the wings of a bird, and the body of a 
lioness with bronze claws. The most frightful of these 
was Medusa. The important feature of the Hindu 
Garuda bird is that it is one of the few combinations 
with the head of a bird. Other features vary with locale 
(it is known in India, Indochina, China, Japan, etc.). 
It ranges from a simple bird-headed man on wings to a 
Japanese variety which has the wings and head of a 
bird on the torso of a woman and the legs of a crane. 
She has a white face, red wings, golden body, and the 
tail of a pheenix. The Egyptian soul was sometimes de- 
picted as a bird with a human head, as was also the 
Greek Harpy, which befouled everything it touched. 
The Sirens were similar in form, but had beautiful 
voices and lured men to their downfall. The Welsh 
Washer of the Ford (Gtvrach y Rhibyn) is a spectral 
female in black with the wings of a bat. The Furies are 
another of these combinations. 

The Sphinx is a combination of man-bird-beast, that 
is, the head and chest of a man, wings of a bird, and 
the body of an animal. In Egypt sphinxes were always 
male, and had the body of a lion. The Greek female 
sphinx also had a lioness’s body. The Babylonian shedu, 
the Hebrew shedim, and the Sumerian alad were similar 
to the Egyptian, and male. They had the bodies of 
bulls, neatly curled beards, and often wore hats. The 
female counterpart of the sedu was called lamma or 
lamassu and could fly. The Syrian female sphinx had 
wings and resembled the Egyptian. She was probably a 
representation of Astarte. 

bird of truth A bird which reveals the truth and often 
identifies murderers, traitors, and other wrongdoers; 
one of the most widespread of folktale motifs (B131- 
131.6). In one of the typical stick-fast or tar-baby stories 
of the Fjorts of the French Congo, it is a bird who re- 
veals to Antelope that Rabbit, forbidden by Antelope 
to drink from his well, has nevertheless been drinking 
from it every day. In an Angola tale Turtle-dove plays 
the role of truth-finder in helping Blacksmith discover 
which of many identical Blackbirds owe him for his 

The famous parrot story, in which a man enjoins 
his parrot to watch and spy upon his wife’s virtue in 
his absence, is told twice in the Arabian Nights Enter- 
tainments: on the 5th night in "The Husband and the 
Parrot,” on the 579th night in "The Confectioner, His 
Wife, and the Parrot.” When the man comes home the 
parrot tells all that she has seen: that the wife has made 
merry and had a lover night after night. The man 
righteously punishes the wife. No one can imagine how 
the man found out, but eventually the woman dis- 
covers it was the parrot who told. During the husband’s 
next absence she and her maids counterfeit (he noise of 

a storm so successfully, that the parrot’s report of the 
storm discredits her previous report about the wife. The 
man now- believes both stories were lies and kills the 
parrot. Later, of course, he discovers that the parrot 
was a bird of truth. The Scottish ballad of The Bonn\ 
Bird y (Child #82) partakes of both the bird of truth 
and speaking bird motifs. 

One of the most familiar birds of truth occurs in 
Grimm’s story (#96), The Three Little Birds, in which 
three marvelous children of a king are exposed to perish 
by the jealous sisters of the queen. They are found and 
reared by a fisherman and their true identity is eventu- 
ally revealed to the king by the bird of truth. The bird 
also reveals that the innocent queen is in prison and 
that the jealous sisters were the intentional murderers 
The story ends with all the satisfactory restorations and 

birds If a bird flies into the house, it is a forerunner 
of important news. Some people say that it is a sign of 
death, especially if it cannot get out again; and if it is 
a white bird it is a sure sign of death. In Alabama, 
however, a bird flying into the house is considered good 
luck. If a woodpecker taps on the house, he brings bad 
news, often news of a death in the family. It is very 
good luck if a wren builds near the house. When you 
first hear the whip-poor-will in the spring, you may 
know that you will be in the same place, doing the 
same thing, the same day the following year. If you can 
make a wish when yon hear him calling for the first 
time, that wish will come true. 

A rooster crowing in front of the house is announcing 
company. In Nova Scotia it is said that a rooster crow- 
ing at the wrong time of night is announcing a death. 
Southern Negroes interpret a flock of crows around a 
house as a bad sign. It is generally believed throughout 
the United States that to hear an owl hooting is a sign 
bad luck is coming; to hear a hoot owl is a sign of 
death. The hoot owl says "Who-o, who-o, who are you?” 
Barn swallows nesting on a barn bring prosperity, but 
to destroy their nests brings calamity. Some say it will 
make the cow’s give bloody milk. 

Peacock feathers are very unlucky; they prevent girls 
from marrying and babies from being born. It is also a 
general U.S. folk belief that it is bad to have designs of 
birds or bird decorations on wedding presents: the 
happiness of the newlyweds will all the sooner take 
wing. It is not a good thing to have stuffed birds in the 
house cither. They will fly off with your luck. 

In Ireland it is said that the crossbill’s beak got 
twisted from pulling out the nails from the cross during 
the Crucifixion; and the robin is held sacred because it 
is believed that its breast is stained with the blood of 
Christ. Irish fishermen believe that sea gulls embody 
the souls of the drowned. If the rooks desert a farm bad 
luck will surely follow. The wagtail is said to have 
three drops of the devil’s blood on his tail, which he 
cannot shake off. And no Irishman will kill a swan be- 
cause of the Children of Lir. 

bird seizes jewel A folktale motif in which a jewel is 
carried off by a bird, occurring especially in a group of 
stories involving the loss and recovery of various magic 
objects (Types 560-568). The motif in which a bird 
seizes some jewel (ring, necklace, etc.) or a turban or 
other headdress containing a jewel, and flies off with 


i; is found in the Paiichatantra, several times in the 
Arabian Nights Entertainments, and also in Hebrew 
legend. Frequently the theft results in the accusation 
of some innocent person, who is eventually pardoned 
nben the truth is revealed; or the loser of the jewel 
follows the bird and is led to distant lands, undergoing 
many adventures before the jewel is at last brought to 
light and the story to a happy ending. 

"Typical of the former is the story of “The Stolen 
Necklace" told on the 59G-597th nights of the famous 
Thousand and One. A certain woman who bad devoted 
herself to religion was keeper of the bath in the king's 
palace. One day the queen handed her a precious neck- 
lace to keep safe while she went into the bath. The pious 
woman laid the necklace on the prayer-rug while she 
prayed. A magpie caught sight of the bright thing, and, 
unseen by the woman, seized it, and flew off with it, to 
hide it in a cranny in the palace wall. When the queen 
came out of the bath and asked for the necklace, it was 
gone. Neither of them could find it. The king had the 
woman beaten and questioned over fire, but she con- 
tinued to deny the theft; at last she was thrown into 
prison. Some time later the king himself saw the magpie 
flitting about the corner of the wall and was amazed to 
see it pulling at a necklace. The bird was caught and 
the necklace retrieved; the woman teas pardoned and 
set free. The second is represented by motif N352, in 
which a bird carries off the ring which a young man 
has removed from the finger of his lover in her sleep. 
This is related to the accidental separations group of 
motifs (N310-319) in that the pair are separated in a 
long series of adventures in their search for it and for 
cadi other. 

The bird seizes jewel motif occurs also in a medieval 
French legend, reused with humorous adaptation in 
"The Jackdaw of Rheims” (one of Barham’s Ingoldsby 
Legends). A jackdaw flew off with the ring of the arch- 
bishop of Rheims. The archbishop cursed the thief, 
whoever he might he, with such a blasting curse that 
the jackdaw drooped and failed into a lame, unsightly, 
bald, and sickly bird. At last the jackdaw revealed the 
hiding place o£ the ring; the curse was lifted; he re- 
gained his Health and fine feathers, and became a de- 
vout Christian. 

bird-soul The soul in the form of a bird: distinguished 
from soul-bird, a co-existent double of an individual. 
The hats of Babylonia, flitting in the dusk, were the 
bird-souls of the dead; when Gormiv shot Llew Llaw 
Gyffes, the latter's soul flew away as an eagle, or bird- 
soul. But the parrot in the forest, born at the same time 
as the boy in the hut, whose life is bound up with the 
life o[ the boy, is a soul-bird. The distinction is often 
not clearly drawn by students of folktale and folk be- 
lief, and the term is often further confused by being 
used synonymously with separable or external soul in 
a bird. See bush-soul; separable soul; soul-animal. 

Birds’ Wedding Title and motif of a very widespread 
European folk song (B282 ff.; Type 224) describing the 
marriage of certain birds to other birds and occasionally 
to other animals; widely known in French, German, 
Lettish, Wcndish, English, Russian, French Canadian, 
Danish, Czech, Estonian, Walloon, etc., and even in 
Japanese. Eagles, larks, nightingales, pigeons, wood- 
peckers intermarry with owls, wrens, robins, sparrow’s, 


magpies, wagtails, ravens, quails, cuckoos. In Germany 
cocks and hens are typical brides and bridegrooms. The 
nursery story of the wedding of the owl and the cat 
(B282.4.2) is an example in English. The form is often 
cumulative, as in the related type of animal marriage 
of Frog I Vent a-Courling. 

That Made Milk An African Negro folktale 
existing in several variants among the Basuto, Kaffir, 
Zulu, and Sechuana peoples. In the Basuto version a 
woman comes into the possession of a wonderful bird 
that provides the family with milk. She conceals it care- 
fully in the hut, and every evening it fills as many clay 
vessels with milk as the family requires. The children 
discover it, however, play with it, fill themselves with 
milk, and finally lose it in the forest. They try to re- 
cover it but fail. Suddenly a violent storm comes upon 
them, so violent that the trees are uprooted. But an 
enormous bird comes and covers the children with its 
wings so that they are not harmed. When the storm is 
over the bird carries them off, nurtures them carefully, 
at the proper time even putting them through their 
puberty rites, and returns them sate and beautiful to 
their parents after that. The joyful villagers then re- 
ward the bird with gifts of cattle. After that there is 
much visiting back and forth between the bird and the 

The Kaffir version is especially famous in that it con- 
tains the incident of the crocodile who takes one of the 
runaway children to his underwater home, presses gifts 
upon him, and bids him bring his sister also. When the 
girl arrives he beseeches her to lick his face, and as she 
does so, a hand some man emerges. This is one of the 
most famous of all Beauty and the Beast variants. Other 
motifs involved in this story are the animal nurse 
(B535), speaking bird (B211.9), bird gives shelter with 
its wings (B538.1). 

Bird Whose I Vings Made The Wind A Micmac Indian 
story relating how’ the people along the shore could not 
go fishing because of the high winds and fierce storms 
upon the sea. They became so hungry that they walked 
along the shores hoping to pick up a fish here and there 
that might have been cast to land by the waves. One 
young man looking for fish in this manner suddenly 
came upon the cause of their troubles. A big bird stood 
on a point of land which jutted into the sea flapping 
his wings and causing all the storms. He called out to 
the big bird, "O, Grandfather,” he called him. He then 
proceeded to convince the bird that he was cold and 
took him ashore on his back. Carefully the man stepped 
from rock to rock until he came to the last one. Then 
he pretended to stumble, fell, and broke the bird’s 
wing. The kind man immediately set the hone, hound 
up the wing, and told the old bird to lie still and he 
would bring him food. Dead calm fell upon the waters. 
Day in and day out it was calm, until the salt water was 
covered with scum, and stank. No longer could the 
fishermen see through the water to spear fish or eels, 
and were as bad ort as before. So they set free the bird, 
whose w’ing was now healed, but they explained to him 
that he must flap his wings gently. They have not had 
so much trouble since. 

This idea of the big bird whose wings made the wind 
is common to Micmac, Malecitt, and Passamaquoddy 
tribes; it is known among Georgia Negroes, turns up in 


Norse and Icelandic mythology, and is one of the motifs 
in the Bab) Ionian Adapa story. See gluskabe. 

birthdays Among people with well developed sense of 
time, birthdays mark the transition from one stage o 
being to another. Because any change is dangerous, 
birthdays are the times when good and evil spirits and 
influences have the opportunity to attack the celebrants 
who at these times are in peril. The couvade and all the 
rites of the threshold are two of the many examples of 
this almost universal tendency in folk thinking. The 
presence of friends and the expression of good wishes 
help to protect the celebrant against the unknown 
pervasive peril. Ceremonies and games at birthdays fre- 
quently are a symbolic wiping out of the past and 
starting anew. The American child who at his birthday 
blows out all the candles with one pull is eager to 
demonstrate his prowess, but the secret wish he makes 
will be granted only if all the candles, one for each year, 
can be extinguished at once. Trials of strength and 
skill on birthdays are demonstrations of progress. 
Among some tribes puberty ceremonies are initiated on 
the birthday. Some of the tribes of the Congo and, in 
North America, the Hupas and Omahas believed that 
counting was wicked and kept no record of time. Among 
these groups, birthdays were not marked. This is also 
true of some of the aboriginal tribes of Australia who 
have names indicating the generation but no actual 
reckoning. The exchange of presents and communal 
eating, except in communities where eating together is 
dangerous or bad manners, strengthen communal bonds 
and this is associated with the importance of ingratiating 
good and evil fairies, godmothers, and wealthy rela- 
tives, on their or our birthdays. The Tshi of I Vest 
Africa sacrifice to their protective spirits on their birth- 
days by smearing themselves with egg and asking for 
good luck. The ceremonial observance of weekly or 
monthly birthdays has been reported from I Vest Africa, 
Burma, ancient Syria, and elsewhere. The social im- 
portance of birthdays increases with the importance of 
the celebrant: kings, heroes, saints, gods. Because kings 
are endowed in folk thinking with magical functions in 
that a good king or president can bring among other 
things good fortune to the people, that is peace and 
good crops, the birth of a royal heir is the occasion for 
great social and mild sexual excitement. In Christian 
communities the birthdays of martyrs are their death 
days, when they are born into eternal life. 

The date, hour, and place of birth may be the clues 
to good or bad fortune as determined by the complex 
computations of astrologers, numerologists, and geo- 
mants. Prudential ceremonies either at birth or at 
stated anniversaries, depending on the system of compu- 
tation, are good insurance. Memorial services, or sacri- 
fices at tombs or before ancestral tablets, are in some 
places customary on the birthdays of the deceased. The 
function is a mixture of natural affection, the desire to 
keep the deceased at peace and therefore to keep his 
ghost from troubling the living. 

The birthdays which mark the transition from child- 
hood to adolescence, from adolescence to adulthood, the 
acceptance of the individual into the tribe, community, 
or church (confirmation day) have ceremonies which are 
more or less impressive depending on the ethnic com- 
plex. In China the birthdays which mark the transition 

; — — 

from one stage of being to another have each < • 

ceremonies. The 60th birthday is an example, wf 
which, being long and numerous, symboliie 
and many years, are part of all birthday ceremonial 
a necessary dish on the GOtli. Filial sons present J, 
and garments with the longevity symbol, and m Z. 
selves into debt to buy magnificent coffins tor 
respected parents, and the parents themselves at this fa 
become members of the older generation. On this (M 
birthday and for the next ten years, men are advised to 
put women from their beds though on their JOth b'mh. 
day filial sons may present their fathers with a ness mn . 
cubine. Christ’s birthday on December 25 was, in die 
Julian calendar, the date of the winter solstice. I^n. 
tians exhibited images of infants on that da) 
Syrians and Egyptians who had retired into cases 
emerged at midnight crying, "The Virgin has brought 
forth. The light is waxing.” [rdj] 

Birth of Cormac or Getneaihain Cormaic Title of an 
ancient Irish story’ of the cycle of Conn of the Hundred 
Battles, contained in the Book of Ballymote and the 
Yelloiv Book of Lccart. When Art son of Conn of the 
Hundred Battles traveled westward to light the battle 
of Mag Mucrama he spent the eve of the battle in the 
house of a smith, and begot a son on the smith's daugh- 
ter, Etain. Art told Etain that her son would be king ol 
Ireland, and said to bring the child for fosterage to 
Lngna Per Tri. Art was killed in that battle and Etain 
set out before the child was born so that it might be 
born in the house of its fosterer. The birth-pains over- 
took her on the way and she lay in a bed of ferns and 
gave birth to a boy. The moment the child was bom a 
clap of thunder announced to Lugna that Cormac son 
of Art was in the world, and he set out to find him. 

Etain slept after the birth and her maidservant kept 
watch. Finally the maid also slept and a she-wolf came 
and carried off the infant. So when Lugna found Etain 
she could only weep and say the child was gone, she 
knew not where or how. One day a man brought news 
to Lugna of having seen a human child in a wolf's cave 
crawling among the whelps. They brought the child 
home and the wolf whelps with him, and he was raised 
with Lugna’s sons. At length Lugna took Cormac to 
Tara to live in the house of Mac Con, successor to Art. 
Immediately Cormac proved his true birth with a true 
judgment. The sheep of a certain woman had eaten the 
king's woad and Mac Con had taken the sheep as com- 
pensation for the woad. "No," said Connac. "Take the 
wool of the sheep for the eating of the woad, because 
both will grow again.” And the side of the king’s house 
from which the crooked judgment had been made col- 
lapsed. Legend says the Crooked Mound of Tara is 
named for this. 

The people unthroned Mac Con and Cormac was 
made king. He kept his wolves by him, and Tara pros- 
pered while Cormac was king. 

birth omen Any unusual happening during the de- 
livery of a child: considered portentous by many peoples. 
Mesopotamian records contain many statements like: 
"If a woman has brought forth, and its right ear is 
small, the house of the man will be destroyed" and "If 
a woman has brought forth twins for the second time, 
the country will be destroyed.” In general, multiple 
births are considered to be unlucky; but exceptions are 



ddcrwcad. Marks on the baby’s body have significance; 
in the bland of Karpntbos near Crete, such marks, 
cuvet cr tiny, are called "the fating of the Fates." The 
nomlt. day of the tvcck, etc., of the birth have sig- 
ijficancc, being important for the horoscope, and also 
,crati‘c certain days are per se lucky or unlucky. A 
!i(T:<tdt debt cry is widely taken to be a sign of the 
anther's infidelity, as were twins in Teutonic belief. 
Mthoiigh no direct evidence exists of actual belief or 
irncticc. the presence of Roman names like Dentatus 
■ml Agrippa, Sextus and Dccimus, indicate the im- 
aoriancc of birth omens in Europe. Various customs 
use existed to foretell the future occupation of the 
newborn; the infant, for example, is shown two ob- 
ects (e.g. a violin and a purse) and readies for one. See 
imrrtitTU; astrology; caul; divination; twins. 

birtlistonc A jewel identified with a particular month 
if the year (or. more rarely, with a day of the week or a 
,; s n of the zodiac): thought to bring good luck when 
tvorn by a person whose birthday falls in that month. 
I.hts of these stones vary greatly in detail, from country 
io country and through the centuries. The tabulation 
I, c low places the currently accepted stone for each 
month first, with some of the principal variants follow- 
ing in parentheses: 

/a nuar)— garnet 
February — amethyst 

.l/arr/i-ntjuamarinc or bloodstone (jasper) 

April — diamond (sapphire) 

May — emerald (agate, chalcedony, camclian) 

/une— pearl or moonstone (chalcedony, agate, emerald) 
/ii/v-ruby (onyx, carnelian, turquoise) 

/lugust— sardonyx or chrysolite (carnelian) 

September — sapphire (chrysolite) 

Oc/ober-opal or tourmaline (aquamarine, beryl) 

A 'oi 'em ber— topaz 

December — turquoise or lapis lazuli (ruby) 

birth tree A tree planted at the birth of a child in 
the belief that its welfare has some mysterious connec- 
tion with the welfare of the child all its life. If the tree 
thrives, the child will grow strong and prosper. If the 
lice withers, is felled, or damaged, the person will 
sicken, die, or be injured. The planting of birth trees is 
still widely practiced and believed in by European 
peasantry, especially in Germany. In certain districts in 
Switzerland an apple tree is planted for the birth of a 
troy, a pear tree for the birth of a girl. Sometimes a tree 
already grown is acclaimed the child's tree at birth, and 
to establish his union with it, the afterbirth and the 
umbilical cord arc either buried beneath it or bound 
into a cleft that has been made to receive them. The 
birth tree is a living practice and belief among the 
Aitrus. the Papuans, the Dyaks of Borneo, the Balinese, 
the Maoris of New Zealand, in various parts of Africa, 
and also among certain North American Indians. It oc- 
curs as a motif in the folktales of England, France, Ger- 
many, Italy, and Russia. There is so indistinguishable a 
line between birth tree and life token that the birth 
tree is often called life tree. See ArrrRtiiRrrr; life token. 

birth wort Any plant (genus Aristolochia ) with stimu- 
lant tonic roots, now used principally in aromatic 
letters, Hippocrates (5th century B.C.) recommends 
htrlhwort in the treatment of women, for pains in the 
'idc. and ulcers. Dioscorides (1st century A. 11.) first 

recommended this plant as an aid in birthing and de- 
scribed three species: round-rooted or female with bitter 
leaves and white flowers; long-rooted or male with 
heavily scented purple flowers: and A. cieir.atitis. Pliny 
said if taken with beef immediately after conception it 
assures birth of a male child. Fishermen of Campania 
used it to kill fish so that they might scoop them from 
the surface of the water. The property for which it was 
named, both in Greek and English, that of facilitating 
birth, was least often mentioned; its principal use was 
on wounds and as an antidote for poi«on. It was also 
believed to drive out demons. This explains its use in 
hiccough, convulsion, epilepsy, melancholy, and paral- 
ysis. Besides being useful in treatment of female ills, it 
was recommended for all manner of complaints of the 
teeth, liver, spleen, loins, lungs, and for diseases of the 

Bisan (Toba ISoru tii Hapur) In Malay belief, the 
Spirit of the Camphor: a female spirit which assumes 
the form of a cicada. Not only do the camphor hunters 
speak a special language, bnhasa hapor, while in the 
jungle, but they propitiate the camphor spirit. On the 
first night of the expedition a white cock is sacrificed 
and a conversation with the Bisan is recited by the 
penghulu (leader). When seeking camphor men always 
throw a portion of their food into the jungle for the 
Bisan, who if not properly propitiated, will send the 
hunters home empty-handed. 

Bishamonten The Japanese God of Riches: one of the 
Seven Gods of Luck. See Japanese folklore. [jlmJ 

biter bit The motif of a number of folktales in which 
a cruelty or other misdeed boomerangs back to the 
originator. Sometimes even an unthinking remark or 
wish is revisited on the saycr. Typical is a story from 
the Jutaka in which a quail bcsccdics a wonderful and 
mighty elephant not to trample on her young. The ele- 
phant happens to be the Buddha incarnate, at the head 
of a herd of 80,000 elephants. He stands over the fledg- 
lings and protects them while the herd passes by. But 
the quail's next encounter is not so fortunate. As a cer- 
tain single elephant approaches, again she beseeches the 
mighty one not to trample on her young. This elephant, 
however, deliberately crushes the young birds with h is 
foot, saying, "What can you do to me?" Whereupon the 
little mother quail in sequence befriends a crow, a fly, 
and a frog, who in return for her kindnesses, attack the 
elephant. The crow picks out his two eyes; the fly lays 
eggs in the eye-sockets and the maggots feed upon the 
sore flesh. Then in pain and thirst, the elephant hears 
the frog CToak upon the mountain top. Following the 
sound he climbs the mountain seeking water; the frog 
croaks again at the foot of the mountain and the ele- 
phant falls over the precipice and is killed. Thus was 
the biter bit. 

Biter Bit is the title of a Serbian folktale which be- 
gins with an old man’s remark that he wished it would 
please God to send him a hundred sons!— with the re- 
sult that he eventually finds himself the father of no 
fewer. It is a long story recounting the old man’s search 
for a hundred wives for his hundred sons, his promise 
to a giant obstructing the wedding-party to give him 
what he has forgotten at home, only to discover that 
this is his eldest son. The next biter bit, however, is the 
giant. He teaches the young man. thus fallen into his 


power, many magical skills and transformations, only 
to be outdone by his pupil in tire end, caught, and de- 

bitter water Holy water, mixed with dust from the 
floor of the tabernacle, used to blot out a curse written 
bv the priest after being spoken, and finally swallowed 
by a woman accused of adultery: a chastity ordeal 
(Xum. v, 11-31) of the Hebrews, the only judicial ordeal 
mentioned in detail in tire Bible. The bitter 'rater, con- 
taining both the dust of the holy place and the ink of 
the words of tire curse, would, if the woman were guilty 
of adultery, cause her thigh and her belly, the guilty 
parts, to rot. In fact, however, the ordeal served as a 
means of obtaining circumstantial evidence, where tire 
husband had only a jealous suspicion, the guilty woman 
fearing to go through with the ordeal, the innocent vic- 
tim of jealousy being absolved by tire ritual. The ordeal 
of bitter water would have no result if the husband too 
were guilty of adultery; Johanan ben Zakkai (c. GB-70 
AJ).) suspended the rite because the number of adulter- 
ous husbands had become so great as to make tire ordeal 
pointless. Similar chastity tests are known elsewhere in 
the world. The Gold Coast ordeal in like circumstances 
makes use, however, of a really poisonous substance; 
the threatened results are the same, and women often 
confess to avoid the consequences of swallowing tire 
drink. See ordeal. 

Bitter Withy An English carol based on a legend of 
the childhood of Jesus, in which he goes out to play 
ball, meets three young aristocrats who refuse to play 
with the stable-born son of a simple maid, leads them 
across a bridge of sunbeams from which they fall and 
are drowned, and is whipped by i, is mother with a 
willow switch when he goes home. He curses the wil- 
low, saying, "The bitter withy that causes me to smart 
shall be the very first tree to perish at the heart." Frag- 
ments of the tale and of the song have survived in the 
United States. 

black and white sails A folktale motif (Z130.1) in 
which the color of the sails on an approaching ship in- 
dicates good or bad news: one of a group of motifs 
(Z 130-1 33) involving color symbolism. The classic ex- 
ample occurs in the Greek story of Aegeus. Theseus, re- 
turning from the Minotaur adventure, forgot the 
promise to his father to change the black sails of mourn- 
ing which carried the young victims to Crete to white 
sails if he were returning safe; and when the watching 
father saw the ship returning with black sails still 
spread, he took the sign to mean his son was dead and 
threw himself into the sea in sorrow' and despair. 
Another famous use of the black and white sails motif 
is found in a late version of the Tristram and Iseult 
story. Tristram, dying in Brittany of a poisoned arrow 
wound, sent for his old love, Iseult of Ireland. The sign 
of her coming was to be a white sail on the ship. His 
wife, Iseult of Brittany, kept watch for the ship, and 
jealous and fearful of her famous rival, told Tristram 
that the sail was black. He died of shock and grief. 

Black Bear One of the guardian spirits and super- 
natural powers of Osage Indian religion; also one of 
certain animals who symbolize strength and courage to 
the Osage. His name is IVacabc. And he is also their 
specific symbol of old age and longevity. Black Bear is 


the subject of many Osage ceremonial songs and wigics 
connected with the Rite of Vigil. (The wigies are 'the 
recited parts of the rituals which relate the traditions 
of the people.) Certain of the wigies narrate how Black 
Bear first performed all the symbolic acts used bv the 
Osage in preparation for their supplications to the in- 
visible powers for aid in overcoming their enemies. 

These first acts were performed when “The male 
black bear, he that is without blemish/ Fell to medi- 
tating upon himself.” He then performed the six sacred 
acts: plucked and gathered the grasses together into a 
pile, tore down and broke up branches of the redbud 
trees and gathered the pieces into a pile, also the grav 
arrow-shaft tree and the never-dying willow, tore open 
the hummock with his paws, disclosing the holy soil 
and gathered together seven stones in a little pile. Then 
Black Bear sought and found a cave in which to rest 
“the mysterious house of the bear" that excludes the 
light of day, and there “He put down his haunches/ 
To rest for a period of seven moons.” 

The wigie continues with the Black Bear’s bestowal of